Commercial Meat Rabbitry Feasibility Study

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2012: $13,246.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
Nick Carter
Meat The Rabbit, LLC

Information Products


  • 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

    Proposal summary:

    Can a commercial distribution channel be created for rabbit meat in Indiana such that would be profitable for small-scale producers?

    Project objectives from proposal:

    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. Small family farms, such ours, cannot continue to operate profitably in traditional farming markets. 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.

    Rabbits, however, present an interesting potential for high production with relatively low space requirements and upfront investment. We believe that 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.

    But, there are several questions that we have to answer before we can begin investing in the production of meat rabbits:
    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?

    In short: before farmers can begin growing rabbits with any realistic expectation of return, we must validate a distribution channel from farm to table that is as of yet non-existent. Beyond simply the farming practices, we will work with a state-inspected meat processing plant to determine feasibility and costs for processing the meat as well as a marketing team to discover if a high enough consumer demand can be created to develop this market.

    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.