So sorry (and shocked) to hear that someone is not pleased with South Marion Meats. As a small pork producer (40 pigs a year), I attest that my experience with Gary and his team at South Marion has been absolutely positive! We raise pigs for some of the best restaurants in the state, and our chef's are also pleased with the product they receive (and these folks know their stuff).
Gary does his processing under the watchful eye of the USDA and is also approved to process animals from Animal Welfare Approved farms. Animals are treated with respect by Gary. The meat is beautiful, and his record keeping is impeccable (as is required by USDA and AWA).
South Marion is a very clean facility; I walked the entire plant, freezers and all, before we brought our first animal there. Which makes me inclined to question the validity of the previous review. Had 4evercropn's statements been valid, the USDA would have shut these guys down. It's the USDA's job to close the doors of a plant if there is the slightest spec of grime under a table - let alone swarms of flies. This sounds like someone who had contrary expectations when they dropped off their animal and now has an axe to grind.
Furthermore, Gary is one of the nicest butchers that I've had the pleasure to work with, and his customer service is above and beyond. Being a meat processor is a thankless job. Well, I want to say Thank You to Gary and Sue for everything that they do! You guys are great!!!
So often, customers expect 1,000 pounds of meat out of a 1,000 pound steer (that dresses at 400 pounds if you're lucky). So, the poor processor is an instant adversary.
Many customers just don't realize that their choices can have a drastic affect on the final product. The processor provides a service under the direction of the customer (like requiring beef to hang for more than 14 days, because the customer read about it in a magazine). Novice producers can also assume that a whole steer will fit in one cooler then opt to tote the rest of the meat home in cardboard boxes to save them a trip back. With gas as expensive as it is, I understand. But if you want to watch your meat being cut, you should plan on making an additional trip. Processors have specific procedures for freezing meat that can't be done in your freezer at home. Regardless of who you use to process your animals, assume that they know more about processing meat than you do, and try to follow their advice. Be kind to your processor. :)
Gary and Sue provide a much needed service. Without them, niche meat producers can not sell their product retail. I'm very pleased with South Marion Meats, and I'm sure you'll be pleased as well. These are good people doing good work.