What are the different types of animal processors that I should consider?
Answer: There are different levels of processing, and access to them will affect how you can market your animals.? Federal- or USDA-Inspected Plants?Federal plants can process meat for nationwide sale. ? State-Inspected Plants?Only about half of U.S. states have a State Inspection Program. State-inspected plants can process any meat, but it is stamped for sale only within that state. ? Custom Exempt Plants?A custom plant processes for individual use. The meat must be stamped “not for sale.” ? Mobile Processing Unit?A truck- or trailer-mounted facility that is transported to the processing site. Some are state or federally inspected. Extension.org provides more information in its online resource Mobile Slaughter/Processing Units. ? On-Farm Slaughter (exempt from inspection)?Animals are processed by the owner for individual use (regulations vary by state). To learn more, consult Meat Processing Rules & Regulations, by Extension.org.The ATTRA publication Working with Your Meat Processor suggests some key ways to work effectively with a meat processor. It covers topics such as building a cooperative relationship, addressing processor problems, understanding meat yields, and more.A few additional resources for further study are:Slaughter and Processing Options and Issues for Locally Sourced Meat, USDA Economic Research ServiceBeginner’s Guide to Local Meat Processing, Niche Meat Processor Assistance NetworkLocal Meats Processing: Successes and Innovations, by National Good Food Network