Planning for a Farmer-to-Farmer Butcher Shop

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2020
Grant Recipient: Nightfall Farm
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
Liz Brownlee
Nightfall Farm

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: meat processing, meat processing facilities, meat product quality/safety, processing regulations
  • Education and Training: decision support system, farmer to farmer, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, business planning, cooperatives, feasibility study, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, community development, infrastructure analysis

    Proposal summary:

    Access to quality meat processing is a problem throughout our region. Problems include availability (schedules are so full that available butcher dates are 3-4+ months away); labelling and packaging (farmers selling directly to customers often have health department requirements or customer demands that are different from other farmers); and assurance that the meat you receive back is, in fact, your meat (farmers who sell directly to customers depend on this transparency). Fuel use and time off-farm are also problematic for farmers traveling hours to a trustworthy inspected facility.

    We aim to increase the sustainability of our livestock operations by ensuring access to a red meat processing facility that meets our needs as small, direct market farmers. We will use SARE funds to plan a "farmer-to-farmer" butcher shop: a facility run by farmers, for farmers. Planning will include: detailed cash flow projections; business plan; regulatory planning; food safety and HACCP plans; and a site plan and list of materials needed.

    We will gather other farmers who face butcher access and quality challenges, so that they can learn from our progress to make informed decisions about their own butchering options, especially if they are interested in opening their own farmer-to-farmer butcher shops.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Create a “shovel-ready” plan for a farmer-to-farmer butcher shop, so that by November 2018 we are ready to begin ordering materials, scheduling processing, etc. Plan will include:
    • Business plan, including budget and cash-flow analysis
    • Regulatory plan
    • Food safety and HACCP plan
    • Site plan and list of materials needed
    1. Gather livestock farmers in Indiana to learn together about butchering options that accommodate farms selling in local and regional markets. Share our plans and helpful
    2. Conduct a survey that will help guide future conversations and progress on meat processing in Indiana
    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.