Newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service: A project of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). This issue of ATTRAnews is available online.
Marketing Livestock Products
Many farmers and ranchers are exploring ways to reach new customers. Sometimes it can make sense to add meat, eggs, or dairy products to an operation. This issue of ATTRAnews looks at some ideas for marketing these products.
In this issue:
Nick McCann, NCAT Agriculture Marketing Specialist
In any farm business, itís important to have multiple marketing outlets in order to minimize risk and maintain a stable income. For an increasing number of livestock producers, a meat community-supported agriculture program (CSA) or buying club has become a viable addition to commodity markets or the sale barn. A meat CSA/buying club sells whole, half, or quarter carcasses to a group of individuals in order to:
How can I start and manage a meat CSA/
When does marketing smaller cuts become too time intensive to both raise and market animals? This cut-off point will be different for every business but needs to be considered carefully.
How do I get my animals butchered
Where can I find other resources about meat CSAs or buying clubs?
By Rex Dufour, NCAT Agriculture Specialist
In the northeastern part of California is Chaffin Family Orchards, an innovative organic farm that combines fruit production with livestock production, to the benefit of both enterprises. Recently the family started a winter meat CSA for their customers.
Over the season, subscribers receive 65 pounds of meat (broiler chickens, stewing hens, goat meat, and beef) as well as at least 10 dozen eggs and various organ meats and bones. The cost is $350. The Chaffins emphasize the benefit of receiving weekly deliveries of these products. This means that subscribers donít need a full-size freezer, as they would if they bought a half or a quarter of an animal. Deliveries begin the first week in December and continue through April.
Interesting points about the Chaffin operation
Whatís needed to get started
Animal Roles in the Chaffin Orchards
To learn more about Chaffin Family Orchards in Oroville, California, see their website.
The USDA National Organic Program administers a cost-share program for certified organic producers and handlers. Recognizing the cost of organic regulations, Congress created the program to alleviate the financial burden of certification for those participating in the organic market.
This is a great opportunity for organic operators to offset the cost of certification. If you are a certified producer or handler, you may be reimbursed for up to 75 percent of your costs for organic certification, such as inspection and user fees.
You may receive one reimbursement per year for a new or a renewal certification, provided that the annual maximum reimbursement does not exceed $750 per certificate.
Funds are available
For the past two years, only 75 percent of the annual budgets were spent, which means that many certified operators did not apply for their reimbursement. In fact, less than half of all certifi ed producers and handlers submitted applications. The USDA wants to increase participation rates during 2011 and 2012, and it has recently hired additional staff and is doing more to get the word out about the program.
Wondering how to apply?
Some states have application forms available for download, and these links are also available on the USDA website. If you donít have access to the internet, you can call your certifier or your state Department of Agriculture to get an application.
Second, assemble your supporting documentation. You will need to demonstrate proof of your certification and the expenses you have already paid. Save your invoices, statements and receipts, which may be required as proof of payment.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your package is complete. The following documents are typically requested by state Departments of Agriculture. But make sure to review your stateís requirements carefully.
Most certification-related expenses are eligible for reimbursement. However, keep in mind that items such as late fees, expenses due to noncompliance, and inspections for certifi cations other than USDA Organic are not eligible.
Still have questions? Contact Betsy Rakola, USDA National Organic Program cost-share manager, by calling 202-720-3252 or e-mailing Betsy.Rakola@ams.usda.gov. You can also visit the cost-share website.
The following publications can be downloaded from the ATTRA website. Call 800-346-9140 for a free print copy.
Eatwild.com offers nationwide direct sales of local grassfed meat, eggs, and dairy.
Smalldairy.com is a helpful website for producers with questions about all kinds of dairy products.
University of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Profitability has solid information for that state and elsewhere.
Wisconsin Dairy Artisan Network answers a wide range of questions about production and marketing.
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has a poultry programs website.
Agricultural Marketing Resource Center offers many resources for marketing eggs.
American Egg Board maintains a website with links to all aspects of commercial egg production. 1460 Renaissance Drive Park Ridge, IL 60068 847-296-7043
Kansas State University publishes Packing Eggs on the Farm for Direct Sales.
Niche Meat Processing Assistance Network is an excellent resource for farmers, ranchers, consumers, and mid-size processors.
Sheepgoatmarketing.info is a national online resource for sheep and goat marketing.
ATTRAnews is the bi-monthly newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. The newsletter is distributed free throughout the United States to farmers, ranchers, Cooperative Extension agents, educators, and others interested in sustainable agriculture. ATTRA is funded through the USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service and is a project of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), a private, non-profit organization that since 1976 has helped people by championing small-scale, local and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities, and protect natural resources.
Teresa Maurer, Project Manager
Comments? Questions? E-mail the ATTRAnews editor Karen Van Epen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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