- Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial), hay
- Animals: rabbits
- Animal Production: feed/forage
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, feasibility study, agricultural finance, market study
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, new business opportunities
Our research was intended to answer one fundamental question: Can a commercial distribution channel be created for rabbit meat in Indiana such that would be profitable for small-scale producers?
Industrialization of farming in recent decades has rendered small farms un-profitable for traditional grain farming or livestock operations. Similarly, the barrier to entry for first-generation farmers is high considering the large amounts of acreage that are required to create a sustainable income from mainstream grain farming.
We set out to discover if meat rabbitries could become a major new revenue opportunity for small family farms in the next generation, as well as first-generation farmers entering the agricultural arena for the first time.
There were three questions that we wanted to answer through our research:
1) At what volume does rabbit production become economically sustainable for a farmer?
2) Is it cost-justifiable for a processor to tool and staff a shift for rabbits at that volume?
3) Will the market bear the costs in the end product?