The pandemic slammed meat processing to a halt, one bump in a series of supply chain issues that plagued the beef industry. The largest meat processing corporations process an estimated 80 percent of the supply, so interruptions are felt throughout the country. However, one way to avoid that and to prevent the same issues happening in the future is by shopping from local beef providers who use local processing companies. Baxter Troutman aims to fill that need and support the community with his new endeavor.  

Troutman is the owner of Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch, a 5,000-acre cattle ranch that is focused on raising grass-fed beef for sale to the public and serving as a historical venue for agritourism and special events. A fourth-generation farmer, he has a long history with agriculture and the Central Florida area. In 2010, he opened Chop-N-Block, the meat processor for Dark Hammock’s beef sales, as well as area hunters and farmers. A big supporter of the ag community, area youth fairs, and ag education, Troutman worked with several youth fairs in 2021 and 2022 to process their cattle, processing 500-600 head of livestock . He wanted to provide a reliable and efficient processor to the families and kids working so hard to raise their livestock. 

Troutman saw a need in the community for more accessible local beef processing for the network of farmers here. They can have their beef processed locally, making it easier to distribute fresh, local products to the community while supporting the consumers and ranchers in the area. There are only two plants south of I-4 dedicated to nonreligious meat processing that hold a USDA certification.

With Florida First Meats LLC (also known as F1 Meat Co.), Troutman changed that. He brings his own USDA-certified full-service meat processing plant to an area surrounded by 80 percent of Florida’s major cattle ranching operations. It aims to serve local ranchers and the 28 county fairs in the Central Florida region. 

To learn more about buying and processing beef in Central Florida, visit our website. Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch and F1 Meat Co. look forward to continuing to serve the community and providing quality beef for years to come. 

For some history on Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch, visit our website.