ATTRA's COVID-19 statement

Spring Update: You can now download any of our technical materials for FREE!

Value-Added and Processing

If you market lamb directly to your customers, the way the carcass is aged, broken down, cut, and packaged is very important in making your product stand out. Once your lamb is properly finished, (finishing video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbBrR3...

Do you market lamb directly to consumers? Learn to use your hands to tell when a lamb is finished! Companion fact sheet available at https://attra.ncat.org/product/putting-a-hand-on-them-how-to-tell-when-your-lamb-is-finished/ Learning to master correct live-animal evaluation of fat lambs will help you provide a superior, differentiated product to your customers. It also can reduce the overall cost of producing a premium lamb by more accurately determining when the animal is finished, thereby better controlling feed costs. Whether you're a producer or you raise lambs for your own consumption, this video will answer the question, "When is my lamb ready to be butchered?"...

In this second half of a two-part series, Steve Thompson, executive director of NCAT, sits down with Loren Birdrattler, project manager of the Blackfeet Agriculture Resource Management Plan, or ARMP. They take a closer look at a new partnership between NCAT and the Blackfeet Nation to evaluate the feasibility of a multispecies meat-processing plant. This project is a key part of the Tribe’s strategy to create local markets for producers, engage youth more directly in agriculture, and provide healthy, culturally appropriate food for tribal members in this remote corner of rural Montana. In this episode, Loren and Steve have a conversation...

In this first part of a two-part series, Steve Thompson, executive director of NCAT, sits down with Loren Birdrattler, project manager of the Blackfeet Agriculture Resource Management Plan or ARMP. They talk about a new partnership between NCAT and the Blackfeet Nation to evaluate the feasibility of a multispecies meat processing plant. This project is a key part of the Tribe’s strategy to create local markets for producers, engage youth more directly in agriculture, and provide healthy, culturally appropriate food for tribal members in this remote corner of rural Montana. They also talk about the landscape, culture and history of land...

In this episode, Ann Baier, a program specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA sustainable agriculture program, talks with California pastured poultry producers Caleb Barron of Fogline Farm on the central coast of Santa Cruz and Gary Roberts of Zenter’s Fogbound Farm in Petaluma during a break at the recent Small Farm Conference at the University of California Davis. Ann, who works out of NCAT’s California office in Davis, talks with Caleb and Gary about the essential role that the availability of processing – and the processing rules that go along with operations of varying sizes – plays in pastured processing. For more information on...

In this episode, Sue Beckwith and Mike Morris, co-authors of the new workbook Beyond Fresh: a Food Processing Guide for Texas Farmers, discuss the book and the issues it addresses. The book, a workbook, is focused mostly on Texas farmers, helping them decide whether they should move beyond just selling fresh and whole fruits and vegetables by trying to create and sell value-added food products. Beyond Fresh isn’t a how-to book for creating particular products. Rather, it looks at product development, storage and distribution, regulations, labeling, market trends and more – as part of determining whether a product will be profitable for...

In this episode, Margo Hale, NCAT's Southeast Regional Director, has a conversation with farmer Terrell “Spence” Spencer about his poultry-processing facility. Margo is a livestock specialist with NCAT's ATTRA sustainable-agriculture program at NCAT’s Southeast office in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Spence is a pastured-poultry producer in northwest Arkansas, raising nearly 12,000 broilers on pasture each year. He shares the challenges he has faced in regard to finding a reliable processor for his chickens and how that led to him opening a poultry-processing facility. For more information on this topic, you can contact Margo Hale directly at margoh@ncat.org Related ATTRA Resources: Small Poultry Processing Plants and Services Small-Scale...

In this episode, award-winning cheesemaker Veronica Baetje of Baetje Farms LLC in Missouri continues her conversation with NCAT Specialists Linda Coffey and Daniel Prial, including how to find the balance production and sales. To learn more, you can contact Linda and Daniel directly at lindac@ncat.org and danielp@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: Tips for Marketing Sheep and Goat Products Dairy Sheep Beef and Dairy Sheep and Goats Other Resources: Baetje Farms Please call ATTRA with any and all of your sustainable agriculture questions at 800-346-9140 or e-mail us at askanag@ncat.org. Our two dozen specialists can help you with a vast array of topics, everything from farm planning to pest management, from produce...

In this episode, award-winning cheesemaker Veronica Baetje of Baetje Farms LLC in Missouri talks with NCAT Specialists Linda Coffey and Daniel Prial about the history of the operation -- which started with a goat named Cookie -- and marketing small-ruminant dairy products. To learn more, you can contact Linda and Daniel directly at lindac@ncat.org and danielp@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: Tips for Marketing Sheep and Goat Products Dairy Sheep Beef and Dairy Sheep and Goats Other Resources: Baetje Farms Please call ATTRA with any and all of your sustainable agriculture questions at 800-346-9140 or e-mail us at askanag@ncat.org. Our two dozen specialists can help you with a vast array of topics, everything from farm...

In this episode, we talk with Mike Andreas of Andreas Homestead near Raleigh, North Carolina. Mike, who has had a successful career in the entertainment industry, and his wife, Lynn, moved to North Carolina. After beginning to raise their own poultry, with help from neighbors, they have begun a small poultry meat business, sustainable raising around 300 to 500 birds each year, as well as 10 to 20 goats, on 10 acres. Mike talks about how after just a few years, others in the area have begun asking them for advice, the challenges of processing in North Carolina, and regenerating...

In this episode, NCAT Livestock Specialist Linda Coffey talks with Tessa McCormick about dairying with Nigerian Dwarf goats and the process of developing a value-added cheese-making operation. Tessa and her husband Scott own the White River Creamery in Arkansas, where they milk 52 Nigerian Dwarf goats.

In this episode, Wes Helpthorne of B-Bar Ranch near Big Timber, Montana, discusses the process the ranch takes to process its beef at the nearby organically certified Pioneer Meats. Margaret Scoles of the International Organic Inspectors Association leads the discussion. The discussion is an excerpt from the video Inspecting Certified Organic Slaughterhouses, available on the ATTRA Video Archive....

Robert Maggiani, a horticulture specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology, talks with Larry Butler, co-owner of Boggy Creek Farm in Austin, Texas. They talk about the farm and the value added products it has sold over the years. The farm's website is available here. There is a short description of the farm here. The conversation is part of the Beyond Fresh project, a SSARE-funded project with the following objectives: 1. Research opportunities for value-added processing of sustainably grown fruits and vegetables in Texas, with special attention to the appropriate scale of production. 2. Increase the sales and profitability of value-added products...

No, the butcher did not have it for his dinner. By federal law, any beef that is older than 30 months is subject to the Specific Risk Material regulation. All custom, state, and federally inspected processing plants must remove the brains, eyes, spinal cord and a large portion of the vertebral column from the final cuts of beef. This results in the absence of some traditional cuts and 10-15 percent less pounds back in your box. In this podcast, NCAT livestock specialist Dave Scott and Justin Fisher of Ranchland Packing Company in Butte, Montana, discuss the law and its affects. Please...

In this episode, NCAT Specialist Linda Coffey discusses her new publication, Working with Your Meat Processor. She finds that miscommunications between producers and processors often lead to different expectations, and she talks about some of the issues that often arise because of those differing expectations. Working with Your Meat Processor is available on the ATTRA website. Please call ATTRA with any and all of your sustainable agriculture questions at 800-346-9140 or e-mail us at askanag@ncat.org. Our two dozen specialists can help you with a vast array of topics, everything from farm planning to pest management, from produce to livestock, and soils...

You've gone to great effort to raise a nice set of finished lambs and have them processed. Now what? It's great if you can sell them all as wholes or halves. But maybe you can't. How do you go about pricing individual cuts for profit? What is the smallest lamb that you should have in your direct-market program? How do you price high-demand cuts to cover the lower pricing of lesser-demand cuts? In the maze of cuts and cut prices, what is your profit per lamb? An interview with ATTRA Livestock specialist Dave Scott will answer these questions and more....