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The owners of Farmhouse Meat Co. in Carthage, which includes two WIU alumni, held a ribbon cutting for the new meat market Tuesday, March 5.
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Two WIU Alumni Among Owners of New Carthage Meat Company

March 7, 2019

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MACOMB/CARTHAGE, IL – A group of owners, which includes two Western Illinois University alumni, have come together to fill a community need for a meat locker in Carthage.

Farmhouse Meat Co. opened in November on the east edge of the Hancock County town, but will hold an open house through Saturday, March 16.

The new business was started by 10 owners with a variety of experience, ranging from livestock knowledge to technology. The owners include WIU alumni Kristin Huls, who received her bachelor's degree in agriculture business in 2002 and her master's degree in education and interdisciplinary studies, and John Carroll, who received his bachelor's degree in agriculture business in 2002 and his MBA in 2003.

Huls is the director of the Hancock County Farm Bureau, and Carroll is a partner in Carroll Family Farms, west of Carthage.

"Our local meat locker closed a few years ago," said Huls. "Several of our owners are farmers who saw the need to fill that void. It's both a service to the community and a service to our farmers."

The new business created 11 new jobs, and nearly all of the products offered for sale in the business, including popcorn, eggs and a wide variety of cheeses, are from Illinois' businesses. Farmhouse Meat Co. offers custom meat processing, a fresh meat and deli counter and products for sale, including meat sticks made on site and jams, salsas, rubs and dip mixes.

Huls said her degrees from WIU, and specifically agriculture education, have helped her throughout her career and with the new business venture.

"I have always believed in agriculture education and the need to educate people about where their food comes from," she said. "WIU prepared me for anything and in the agriculture department we were our own community; I really appreciated that."

Huls said each of the owners has a career outside the meat locker. The business is run by employees, but she said at least one of the partners is in the business each day.

The business is also the processing partner for the new Leatherneck Country Meats, which teaches WIU students about all aspects of pork production. The partnership was developed by Carroll with the WIU School of Agriculture and creates opportunities for students to market pork raised at the University Farm. Orders of bundles of pork products can be placed through Leatherneck Country Meats and picked up at Farmhouse Meat Co.

"The University has always had a swine program out at the University Farm and they were looking for ways to bring more value to that part of the campus," Carroll said. "We had been talking to them the last few years, and this allows them to pull in the meat science portion, as well as the farm and to work with alumni to use the pigs they produce. It also brings added value to the program."

Carroll said he entered WIU's School of Agriculture initially knowing he wanted to farm and be involved with the business side of operations. He frequently speaks in agriculture classes at WIU and maintains contact with WIU agriculture faculty.

"I really liked the smaller classes WIU offered as compared to other places I visited," said Carroll. "I had one-on-one time with my professors as much as I wanted; they always had an open door."

Farmhouse Meat Co. located at 140 James St., on the east edge of Carthage. The hours are 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays. The business is closed on Sundays and on holidays.

For more information about the new business, visit For more information about Leatherneck Country Meats, visit, or to place an order, visit

Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (
Office of University Communications & Marketing