KRIDER’S MEAT PROCESSING SUPPLIES YOUTH AND COMMUNITY
Since 1977, Krider’s Meat Processing (Krider’s) has been providing service to industries, youth and the community.
Set on the old Columbia Dairy property, Krider’s is a custom meat processing facility began by two brothers, Robert and Richard Krider. Now owned by the second generation, Randy Krider, the meat processing facility does more than process meat.
Service to Youth
Recently Whitko Career Academy’s agricultural teacher Kelley Sheiss called Randy and requested a bovine reproductive tract, which is not abnormal for the processor.
“When someone needs something, we’re happy to donate it. Mostly we have requests for lungs, hearts, livers and sometimes we have requests for whole bone structures or reproductive tracts,” said Randy Krider, owner of Krider’s Meat Processing.
Krider’s has donated bone specimens and organs for major medical device companies to use for research and design and has also donated parts for 4-H projects, science fair projects, and other school and youth-related organizations.
“We’re happy to provide those parts, If it’s for medical or experiment related purposes, there is no charge, we just have to provide the paperwork for the meat inspector. We have seen cool things. A Fort Wayne company uses lamb lungs and a heart to hook into a ventilator for demonstration purposes,” Krider said.
In addition to supporting projects, Krider’s also provides tours for 4-H clubs, Warsaw Community High School, and Ivy Tech Community College to help educate youth about agricultural processing and where food comes from.
Service to Community
Richard Krider, Randy’s uncle, worked for a local grocery out of high school as a meat cutter, and Robert raised cattle so when they decided to start the business, Robert was the company’s cattle buyer, and it met community needs for custom processing.
Until about 2008, Krider’s operated as 80 percent custom processing and 20 percent retail. The brothers processed about 17 hogs and nearly 20 beef a week to meet the demands of local farmers.
“Around 2008, a lot of smaller farms no longer needed custom processing, so we shifted to offer more retail product. Currently, we offer close to 50/50 with processing and retail,” Krider said.
Krider’s supports the downtown Farmer’s Market with local buyers and supplies Grandma Sue’s of Roanoke with her lard for pie crusts, too.
“We were the first one in the area to have a smokehouse and lard kettle to render lard in the 1980s. Both provide a lot of meat for customers and by-products like the lard for Grandma Sue’s and customers who want the lard for their homemade recipes,” Krider said.
The store offers a wide variety of meat cuts as well as cheeses, spices, dry goods, and more. Having a variety of retail even helped when COVID-19 hit.
“One Friday in late March we ground 800 pounds of beef and limited each person to purchase 5 pounds. Saturday morning, there was 5 pounds of beef left,” Krider said of the initial COVID shutdown.
The declaration of the National Emergency has people stocking their freezers with meat. Purchasing habits changed in the mid-2000s, Krider explained, from buying half and quarter hogs and beef to purchasing $30 to $40 of meat a week but now people are keeping more of it on hand.
“Christmas Eve is always a busy day for us and when the shutdown was announced, it felt like Christmas Eve for weeks,” Krider said.
Krider’s Meat Processing was recently awarded a grant through the Indiana State Department of Agriculture to offset the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to help upgrade equipment for increased efficiency to meet the demand.
Randy has been working at his family’s processing facility for nearly 45 years and looks forward to continuing to serve the community.
“We are better prepared if there is another stay-at-home order because we’ve lived it. 1977 seems so long ago but I get to counting and it wasn’t,” Krider said.
Krider’s Meat Processing continues to be a family business. Randy’s wife, Sherry; son, Kevin; and daughter, Shelby, and additional employees Chris, Jenny, Josh, and Luke all work at the facility. The Krider’s have won national awards for their smokehouse recipes and jerky and have a long history with the Indiana Meat Packer’s Association. Randy and his dad, Robert, were both past presidents of the organization. Additionally, Randy and his wife, Sherry, and Randy’s parents, Robert and Dolores Krider, were all inducted into the Hall of Fame for their leadership and dedication to the industry.
Follow Krider’s Meat Processing on Facebook for more updates or visit their store at 735 W. Market St. in Columbia City.
Kelly Sheiss, Whitko Career Academy Agricultural Instructor (Far left), teaches students with a reproductive tract from Krider’s Meat Processing.