The project money is offered basically with no, or not many, strings. That is, if your project is late or has a delay, or just doesn't get done at all, there's very little recourse your backers have. So from the perspective of the person receiving the money, it's a great deal.
A case in point is the butcher shop at Sugar Mountain.
The idea was to build and operate a meat processing facility on the farm where the pigs were - and by doing so capture some of the money that would normally be spent transporting the pigs to slaughter and then picking up the processed pigs at a later date, and the fees that would be charged for that.
The basic thinking is that instead of the revenue going to some other organization that it would be retained on the farm. For any farm, the prospect of getting more of the retail dollars spent on their product is appealing, and the second benefit is that having more control over your process would
allow better and easier scheduling. You could process when you had orders. No downside.
Walter Jefferies also had the goal of "...open sourced demonstration of how a family can bootstrap their own USDA/State inspected meat processing facility. "
The risk with kickstarter projects is that the average internet user isn't used to evaluating risks and challenges of a small business, and isn't usually given any tools to do so. when you go to a bank and ask for money they may ask for a business plan, tax returns, revenue forecasts - past and future - and other documentation that shows that you've done your homework and that at least on paper the venture pencils out.
In this case one of the first things that Walter did was buy a scalder/dehairer for $40,000, which he duly noted as having arrived, but what's funny about that is that there's no mention of that machine for the next 5 years. No pictures of it installed, no pictures of it in use. Near as I can tell the machine has been sitting there, in its factory packaging, for the last 5 years.
I've scalded and scraped more than my share of pigs; takes about an hour per pig for one person do
do a good job, and with the volume of 20 pigs a month that walter claims he's doing, that would cost roughly $400 (figuring labor at $20/hour for 20 hours) per month.
Which means, on a labor saving basis, that machine will pay itself off in... well, never. But I understand wanting new stuff myself.
Here's the latest schedule from Walters website:
I've asked Walter on the kickstarter page if he ever plans to complete the USDA portion of this project; and two weeks after asking no reply.
Walters kickstarter backers have been complaining about the schedule for the last few years, but as mentioned previously, there's not much recourse. He'll either complete it (or not) and if you get anything he promised you, well, that's a bonus.