Slaughter and Meat Processing

Slaughter and meat processing services are essential for a strong local food system supplying protein as well as other components of a healthy diet.  CISA’s research reports on these topics are available below.

We continue to work with local farmers and regional partners to provide education for meat producers, explore additional options for slaughter and meat processing, and improve communication between producers and processors.  If you would like to learn more about this work, please contact Margaret Christie, Special Projects Director, at 413-665-7100.

Reports and Resources

Download the research and practical tools that CISA developed to help assess opportunities for farmers to process their animals locally.

Local Meat Processing Study, 2013

SMmeat processing photoConfronting Challenges in the Local Meat Industry: Focus on the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts

This report, prepared by consultants to CISA, assesses challenges in commercial meat processing in the Pioneer Valley and provides recommendations for improving producer education and coordination, reducing costs, and expanding options for meat processing such as cutting and curing. The report includes detailed feasibility analysis of a stand-alone meat processing facility, the addition of meat processing services to an existing shared-use commercial kitchen, and the costs and benefits of two associations designed to improve services for producers. The report also includes an appendix that provides an overview of USDA regulations and how they are applied in Massachusetts. Photo Credit: Ivy Ashe for the Vineyard Gazette.

Financial Tools

Feasibility Template for Small-Scale Meat Processor, 2013

This template was designed to help test the feasibility of establishing a small-scale meat-processing facility. It assumes the facility will not slaughter animals, but will instead receive whole animal carcasses, halves, or quarters, which will then be further processed. This template can provide a quick analysis of a potential business, as well as the relevant criteria to consider. The template, however, should not be the sole tool used in your determination.

Cash Flow Template for a Small-Scale Slaughterhouse, 2008

To better understand the economic constraints on slaughter and meat processing projects, CISA partnered with a small group of farmers to estimate cash flow inputs for building or renovating a small-scale slaughter and processing facility. As a result we developed a cash flow projection and Profit and Loss Statement.

Exploring the idea of developing a slaughter and meat processing operation? Use CISA’s cash flow template tool to develop your own cash flow model and explore your business options.CISA partnered with a small group of farmers to estimate cash flow inputs for building or renovating a small-scale slaughter and processing facility. Review our assumptions and input your own information to better understand your projected cash flow.

Demand Study, 2008

“Assessing volume and attributes of farmer demand for slaughter and meat processing services”

This study covers CISA’s detailed survey findings regarding the volume and characteristics of farmer demand for slaughter and processing services. To read a summary of highlights, click here.

Feasibility Study, 2008

“Demand and Options for Local Meat Processing”

This report includes a summary of the demand study, a review of strategies to respond to the lack of slaughter services, opportunities and challenges for small-scale infrastructure, and a financial feasibility overview for a small-scale slaughterhouse.