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Small Meat Processor Business Planning Guide
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Meat processing business tool kit, breadcrumb menu, exploring a meat processing business toolkit.
This toolkit is a set of resources for entrepreneurs interested in starting or expanding a meat processing facility or those interested in exploring the industry. These resources are tools that entrepreneurs can use as aids in their decision-making processes. The tools in this kit are focused on Ohio, but can be replicated for other geographies. All these tools are meant to be individualized based on an entrepreneur’s unique circumstances and goals. Using these tools does not guarantee success.
The tools in this kit are intended to be individualized and aid entrepreneurs with decision-making about meat processing enterprises. However, these resources do not anticipate every decision an entrepreneur will need to make and entrepreneurs will likely need to utilize additional tools and resources. For more assistance, please contact any of the staff located in the Contact Us portion for more help.
In the early phases of exploring a new or expanded meat processing business, entrepreneurs may want to assess the potential need for an enterprise in their region by reviewing the region’s livestock production, current meat processing capacity, and the various models for meat processing enterprises. Below is a list of questions to review and answer before moving forward. Questions are designed to give readers an idea of the basic approach to getting involved in the meat industry.
Understanding the Capacity of the Region
The tools below can help entrepreneurs explore the potential need for a meat processing facility in their region based on current processing capacity and livestock production. Check the user information guide in each resource to see how you can adapt the material for a specific geographic area.
Ohio Map of Federal and State Inspected Facilities and Auction Sites
Ohio Livestock Inventory Information by County
Livestock Inventory Data Workbook
Considering Different Models
There are many different types of meat processing enterprises, from cooperatives and corporations to mobile slaughter units and high-volume slaughterhouses. This bulletin explores models that have been used around the United States to develop or expand local meat processing enterprises via farmer engagement, partnership, or investment. This is not an exhaustive list of meat processing models. It is a review of some innovative models utilized by producers and processors.
Farmer Focused Models for Local Meat Processing
As entrepreneurs explore the opportunity to start or expand a meat processing enterprise, it is helpful to develop a business plan and assess the financial requirements of the future venture. The tools below are intended to help entrepreneurs develop informed, comprehensive plans that can be utilized to make decisions about the opportunity. Entrepreneurs may also use business and financial plans in obtaining loans for a business.
A business plan can help entrepreneurs communicate their ideas, identify areas they have not considered, and develop their understanding of the industry and business they are exploring. Entrepreneurs can use the following documents as templates for writing a business plan. This includes a link to Iowa State University’s Guide to Designing Small Red Meats Plants , which may answer questions about facility planning and needed supplies. In developing the plan, entrepreneurs will answer important questions like: How will the business be managed? How will the business market its products or services? What is the business’s competitive factor?
Guide to Designing Small Red Meat Plants by Iowa State University
Cooperative Business Plan Template
Business Plan Template
Ohio Regulatory Contacts
An important step in the business planning process is financial modeling. The templates in these toolkit models will help entrepreneurs estimate start-up costs, income, and expenses to understand the financial viability of an enterprise. Entrepreneurs should use information specific to their operation to develop accurate projections.
Co-op Financial Start-Up Model Template
Financial Model Template
Exploring Funding Sources
Meat processing is a capital-intensive business and entrepreneurs exploring a meat processing business will have to plan for the financial needs of the enterprise. This tool outlines types of funding that an entrepreneur might use to build or expand a meat processing business, along with examples of potential funding sources.
Exploring Capital Sources for Meat Processing Enterprises
Feasibility Study Example
Entrepreneurs planning for a meat processing business may conduct a detailed analysis to determine if an enterprise is economically feasible. Entrepreneurs may also use a feasibility analysis to help build their business plan. Future processors and others can use the analysis as a model for conducting their own assessment with updated data and information for their own circumstances, or they can use the analysis to check their business planning assumptions.
Meat Processing Feasibility Study, Adams County, Ohio
Oklahoma Small Meat Processing Feasibility Study by Oklahoma State University
USDA Poultry Processing Feasibility Study in Southeast Michigan
Niche Meat Processing Assistance Network
Contact Us for Assistance
Staff and faculty at The Ohio State University are available to assist entrepreneurs who are exploring meat processing enterprises with business planning or better understanding the industry.
Ohio State University Meat Science Extension
Lyda G. Garcia, PhD - Extension Meat Specialist, Fresh Meats [email protected]
Lynn Knipe, PhD - Extension Meat Specialist, Processed Meat and HACCP [email protected]
CFAES Center for Cooperatives
Hannah Scott - Center for Cooperatives Program Manager [email protected]
Ryan Kline - Cooperative Development Specialist [email protected]
OSU South Centers Business Development Network
Brad Bapst - Small Business Development Center Director [email protected]
Chris Smalley - Business Development Specialist [email protected]
So, You Want to Build a Meat Processing Facility? Five Initial Steps to Consider
The need for more small meat processing capacity and skilled workers is not a new problem facing rural America, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an uptick in those interested in building small meat processing facilities. This interest can be related to a variety of motives: livestock producers with an interest in gaining more control over their end products, processors looking to expand their existing business or change inspection status, or an entrepreneur who has never been involved in agriculture looking to start their own business venture. No matter the reason for wanting to build, here are some steps to consider before diving in.
Step 1. Write a business plan.
To no surprise, the first step in building any business is to clearly identify what that business’ goals and structure will be. The SD Small Business Development Center can help with writing your business plan, a non-exhaustive list of factors to consider include:
- Will you build in town our outside of a town?
- Does your location have easy access to utilities?
- What are the zoning requirements of your location?
- Is there room to unload and hold animals and to handle offal that is away from customer entrances?
- How many animals of each specie do you intend to process in one week?
- How many carcasses will be in the cooler at one time?
- Do you have adequate space for employees to work safely?
- Will you operate under state or federal inspection, or with custom exempt licensing?
- Inspection information and resources for South Dakota can be found in the article, Meat Inspection in South Dakota: Requirements and Resources .
- Will you be a hands-on manager or hire someone else to manage the daily operations?
- Where will your labor come from?
- How will your labor force be trained?
- Who will your customer base be?
- What types of products do your potential customers want?
- Are you trying to enter a niche market?
- Are you building new or renovating an existing facility?
- What type of equipment do you need for slaughter and/or processing?
- How many coolers and freezers do you need?
- Will you install a power generator or other emergency equipment?
Step 2. Hire an engineer.
Do your research and find engineering firms that have experience with meat processing plants. Meat processing facilities have special requirements and considerations, so having an experienced engineer on your side will pay off in the long run. Be aware that most engineering firms will require upfront payments for their services.
Step 3. Determine permits needed.
The types of utility permits you will need are dependent on your location. Check with your local officials to determine your specific needs.
Step 4. Explore financing options.
Your local bank may be willing to finance your business, but it never hurts to look into other options. Look for grant opportunities and other funding sources such as the SD Governor’s Office of Economic Development or federal assistance. Additional information about federal assistance programs can be found in this USDA resource .
Step 5. Identify industry mentors.
Maybe you grew up working in a butcher shop and are already a skilled butcher. If that isn’t the case and you haven’t worked in the industry before, you may want to find a mentor or someone familiar with the industry to teach you proper techniques. You can contact your state Extension specialists for training workshops or get some advice from your inspector about food safety questions but having someone in your corner who processes meat on a daily basis is also helpful.
Undertaking a new business venture can be both an exciting and a stressful time. However, proper planning and preparation on the forefront can help prevent costly mistakes and problems in the future.
International Farm Transition Network Training - Farmer’s Yards
SDSU Extension and the International Farm Transition Network (IFTN) are holding an online training session presenting “The International Applicability of Farmer’s Yards” on Wednesday, May 10 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. CDT.
South Dakota pork producers have a chance to tell their story
March 07, 2023
South Dakota State University Extension is encouraging South Dakota hog farmers to join the Your Farm Sustainability Report, a Pork Checkoff-funded project.
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations training to be held March 29
March 06, 2023
South Dakota State University Extension, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service are offering an environmental training session for operators of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) on March 29 at the Crossroads Convention Center, 100 Fourth St. S.W., in Huron.
This is a business plan template for a small, USDA-inspected, multiple-species harvest and processing plant that provides fee-based meat processing services to
a) fee-based meat processing services to livestock producers; and b) the manufacture of processed meats for sale to wholesale or retail customers. The plant
Section 2 walks through the business plan for a specific meat processing business, a custom-exempt slaughter and processing facility proposing
This guidebook walks you through creating a business plan for a small meat processing facility. It uses a real business plan as an example.
Current meat processing operations in Pennsylvania fall short of the needs of small-scale, sustainable farmers. A solution to this problem is the creation
New Meat Processing Plants. A Guide for Planning: Phase I. Dr. Lyda Garcia, Extension Meat Specialist, Fresh Meats. A meat processing plant is a business
This includes a link to Iowa State University's Guide to Designing Small Red Meats Plants, which may answer questions about facility planning and needed
Step 1. Write a business plan. · Step 2. Hire an engineer. · Step 3. Determine permits needed. · Step 4. Explore financing options. · Step 5. Identify industry
Beefing Up the Local Economy: Mini Business Plan. Concept Summary. Mission: Objectives: ... USDA certified beef and pork value added processing facility.
livestock producers to consider opening new meat processing facilities. The Niche Meat ... Then, if the project appears feasible, write a business plan.