Small ruminant meat processing plant.

Final Report for FNE00-345

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2000: $6,300.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2002
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $7,175.00
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Colleen Parsons
Capricorn Hill Farm
Expand All

Project Information


Note to readers: Attached is a complete final report for FNE00-345.


Our Live Market concept is somewhat different from any other, and is similar to a Farmer’s Market or open air European Market. We will eventually open it to sales of farm produce, other locally grown and produced farm harvested products such as honey, maple syrup, vinegars, herbs and spices and then perhaps items such as soap and other crafted items, but for now, we are focusing on goats and lambs


Materials and methods:

The producers bring their livestock into our “market barn” and display 3-4 to a welded wire pen, bedded with hay and with a bucket of sparkling clean water. The farmers may bring information about their farms, pictures, posters and other visual aids for display, depicting the quality of life they give their livestock, ensuring that their animals are raised with care. We encourage them to bring their animals in “tidy” condition, free of mud, manure and in excellent health. We are soliciting that they bring their top quality harvest ready animals for sale. Producers are told that unhealthy animals will be rejected.

Our customer focus is ethnic and primarily first generation immigrants, though we expect a wide variety of people to attend. When the customers arrive they are invited walk into the market barn, look at the animals and buy directly from the producer at whatever price the customer and producer agree. Capricorn Hill Meats has nothing to do with the sale, nor do we do anything to control the prices; though we do encourage that folks do not sell their animals below production costs.

After the transaction has been completed, if the customer wishes to have the animal processed, he speaks directly with my husband who runs Capricorn Hill Meats, a NY State certified meat plant in an adjacent building.

We allow religious slaughter in the meat plant for those who desire us to dress the animal out for them, and perhaps quarter or cube the carcass to take it home that day. If they would like their meat cut and wrapped they need to come back later in the week for their finished product. If they would like their animal cut "western-style" (roasts, chops, etc.) that also needs to be done later in the week. For those who don't need to have a religious slaughter, we tag the animal with the name and address of the new owner, and put it in a holding pen for later in the week.

We also have a Harvest Shed on our property. This is a 6' x 6' three-sided shed with a gated door. It has hot and cold running water, a roof, cement floor with drain, and a hoist for those who wish to personally slaughter and dress the carcass themselves.

At our first trial run, on June 1, two producers brought 9 goats and four producers brought 18 lambs. With the help of Cornell personnel, we spoke with Imams of two local mosques, posted flyers, sent out a mailing to our private mailing list and put ads in three local newspapers.

One customer bought three male dairy goats, one for himself and two for neighboring families. He performed the slaughter and left the carcasses in the cooler for cubing and wrapping, and picked them up the three days later.

One customer bought a lamb, had it slaughtered and cubed onsite, bulk packaged in 10 lb bags and took his fresh meat with him.

Two lambs were left for non-religious harvesting and western cuts for later in the week, bought by two separate customers.

Three Boer bucks were bought from the producer to be used as potential breeding stock, with the producer’s knowledge and agreement.

Research results and discussion:

Because we didn’t participate in the livestock sales or sell any livestock ourselves, we can only report that the producers claim they sold their animals for at least $1.50 a pound live weight, and as much as $2.

33% of the animals that came were sold to customers. Capricorn Hill Meats processed six animals from that sale. There were six customers.

One of the customers did indicate he would have bought more goats had there been more there, but he also wants to “burn the hide” per his tradition, which we would not allow at a public sale.

When the customer who bought the dairy goats was later shown a Boer cross carcass hanging in cooler, he stated he was very interested in “that kind of meat”.

We envision this market to work well for small producer who ordinarily doesn’t have the resources to aggressively market his animals. Bringing 1-4 animals would be perfect, and such a producer may need to participate only once or twice a year.

This market will also work very well for Muslims who often have a neighbor or friend as indicated by the above sale, who will buy and kill for them all.

Participation Summary
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.