Local Meat and Poultry Processing: The Importance of Business Commitments for Long-Term Viability

Consumer demand for local food, including local meat and poultry, has risen in recent years. To sell meat, farmers need access to appropriately scaled processing facilities with the skills, inspection status, and reliability to prepare these products safely, legally, and to customer specifications. Farmers and others suggest that limited processing infrastructure restricts the supply of local meat and poultry. At the same time, existing small processors often lack the steady, consistent business required for profitability. This report explores this multi-faceted problem and identifies fundamental causes, drawing on a cost analysis of local processing. Case studies of seven successful local and regional processors illustrate strategies or best practices currently in place: farmers commit to providing consistent throughput of livestock to process, and processors commit to providing consistent, high-quality processing services. This long-term commitment, supported by coordination and communication between processors and their customers as well as along the entire supply chain, is essential to the persistence and expansion of local meats. Also, five public-private collaborations around the country demonstrate how to expand opportunities for local meat marketing by providing support and technical assistance to meat processors and their farmer customers.

Issue Date:
Jun 01 2013
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Economic Research Report Number 150

 Record created 2017-08-21, last modified 2020-10-28

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