Livestock Processing

New! Webinar Series Available

Session 1, July 6: Introduction to Strategic Marketing: Identifying a Target Market
Webinar now Available!
Click here!

Session 2, July 13: Communicating with Customers
Webinar now available!
Click here!

Session 3, July 20: A Guide to Marketing Channel Selection
Webinar now available! Click here!

Session 4, date varies by location: Review and Critique of Your Marketing Materials


Improved Marketing for Livestock Producers

“Improved Marketing for Livestock Producers” will help farmers precisely target their marketing efforts for efficiency, and profitability.  This project will guide livestock producers through marketing channel selection and assist them in developing strategic marketing plans as well as marketing materials.  The project involves a three-part interactive webinar series held simultaneously at 5 locations around the state and then one follow-up workshop at each location with participating farmers and project leaders.

Project Leader:
Matthew LeRoux, CCE-Tompkins, mnl28@cornell.edu

Project Team Members:
Jim Ochterksi, CCE-Ontario, jao14@cornell.edu
Bernadette Logozar, CCE-Franklin, bel7@cornell.edu
Valerie Walthert, CCE-Oswego, vsw2@cornell.edu
Patricia Westenbroek, CCE-Sullivan, paw34@cornell.edu
Kerri Bartlett, CCE-Steuben, ksb29@cornell.edu


Background: History of the 2007-2009 Livestock Processing Workteam

On March 6th, 2009, the Livestock Processing Work Team announced two new hand-outs:

1. Meat and Poultry at the Market: What a Farmers’ Market Manager Needs to Know. This publication is tailored specifically for market managers. It is an overview of the requirements farmers need to follow, with many of the specific details omitted.
2. Meat and Poultry at the Market: What a Farmer Needs to Know. This publication is written specifically for farmers. It has many specific details on what is required of farmers in order to sell at the farmers’ market.

On January 14, 2009 The NYS Work Team on Livestock Processing hosted Clarence Davis, Meat and Poultry Inspection Supervisor, Division of Food Safety and Inspection, NY State Dept. of Ag & Markets for a state wide Poly-conference. Topics of discussion included the various 5-A exemptions, multiple licenses at 5-A facilities, application for exception from the exemptions, and licensing changes. Due to the enormous interest in this topic, DVDs of the entire program are available. To order: Make check out to “Cornell Cooperative Extension” Cost is $10 per DVD Mail to: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany County P.O Box 497 Voorheesville, NY 12186-0497 Attention: Lisa Cox.

On November 21, 2008 the NYS Work Team on Livestock Processing Issues, met with Clarence Davis, Meat and Poultry Inspection Supervisor, Division of Food Safety and Inspection, NY State Dept. of Ag & Markets, to clarify some confusing issues regarding interpretations of processing and marketing of meat and poultry. To read the summary of this meeting, click here.

On October 21, 2008 Clarence Davis, Meat and Poultry Inspection Supervisor, Division of Food Safety and Inspection, NY State Dept. of Ag & Markets, presented a Labeling and Packaging Workshop in Binghamton. Information presented at this workshop is available by clicking here.

Meeting with Clarence Davis. The team met with Clarence Davis, from NYSDAM Food Safety and Inspection who was filling in for John Arnold and had a very conducive meeting. Davis shared his concerns with field interpretations and the benefits a state inspected slaughter program could provide the industry. The interview with Davis is available here.

Testimony to the New York State Council on Food Policy. On May 5th, 2008 the team presented the most pressing issues they had compiled from farmer surveys to the NYS Council on Food Policy in Rochester.  The recommendations were extremely well received and forwarded on to New York Farm Bureau, and the offices of Senator Katherine Young and Assemblyman William Magee. They were also circulated on the list serve and disseminated among many in other states working on similar issues. The full testimony is available here.

Resource Guide to Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry. The team is working to revise and expand the new Resource Guide to Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry.  It is also publicizing the availability of the pilot version by publicizing its web linkwww.nyfarms.info/FAIDPaper.pdf periodically on LivestockProcessing-L and also by providing free CD and hard copy versions of it at their display table at conferences. We have also created a master list of slaughter houses and processing facilities which with cooperation from NYSDAM we are hoping to get on line.

2008 Outreach at Events. The team has displayed its outreach materials and directly engaged farmers and others in the following events to date:

  • Catskill Regional Dairy, Livestock and Grazing Conference (Jan)
  • Vermont Grazing Conference (Jan)
  • NOFA-NY Conference (Jan)
  • NY Beef Producers Association Conference (Jan)
  • Direct Marketing Association Conference (Feb)
  • PASA Pre Conference (Feb)
  • NY Small Scale Food Processors Association Conference (Mar )
  • Grasstravaganza (Mar)
  • New York State Association of Meat Processors, Inc. Annual Meeting Upcoming Apr. 19 – we will be engaged in a panel discussion there on Livestock Processing Regulations and their impact on small processors.

Work Team Brochure and posters. The team developed and printed an outreach brochure and two posters explaining the Team’s purpose, goals, how to participate in the list serve discussion, and soliciting feedback on its three key questions. The brochure is available for download here.

Key questions. After setting up the listserv, the Work Team developed a set of four key questions and has been seeking input from farmers, processors, and relevant agencies through the listserv and through outreach at events. With this input, their goal is to come to a consensus on some of the major regulatory barriers facing small scale livestock farmers and create a plan of action to improve processing infrastructures and regulations for NYS livestock farmers. The questions are:

  • Are there slaughter, processing and/or regulatory problems that make it difficult for you (or the farmers you work with) to get product to market?   Discuss specific issues and ideas for resolving them.
  • Currently there are 28 states with a state meat inspection program. NY is not one of them. The opportunity to allow state inspected meats to cross state lines, is being considered for inclusion in the new Farm Bill was considered for inclusion in the new Farm Bill but was rejected.  However, it will probably come up again in future years. How do you see this change impacting your business and that of other NY livestock farmers?
  • Would you like to see New York go the route of Maine and Vermont and make available a state meat inspection program rather than just a federal meat inspection program?  Why or Why not? Please note that NY custom slaughterhouses do not have state meat inspections and meat from them is not available for retail or wholesale sales.
  • Slaughter and processing regulations and their interpretations can be complex and confusing.  Has this been your experience and has it affected your ability and/or confidence to market your product?  Give specific examples and suggestions.

To join the email list serve: Send request, with name and email address, to the list moderators, tatiana Stanton at tls7@cornell.edu or Martha Goodsell atdeerfarm6@frontiernet.net.

Email Listserv. LivestockProcessing-L was launched in the fall of 2007, to facilitate communication among interested livestock farmers, small scale processors, extension staff, and agency representatives in New York and bordering states. It serves as a forum for 1) sharing processing resources, 2) discussing barriers to effective processing and potential solutions, and 3) publicizing regional efforts to improve or expand slaughter and processing facilities. As of April 1 the list serve is up to 257 members and has prompted a very active discussion, with several messages posted per day.

In October and November 2007, the 14 member core team was recruited and a list-serve on livestock processing issues established.  The Work Team was publicized by sending out announcements and inviting input from USDA, NYSDAM, NY Farm Bureau and other relevant agencies and individuals.