Establishing a Cooperative Business Model for Marketing and Selling Kunekune Pork Products

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2019: $13,807.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2021
Grant Recipient: Heritage Haus Farm
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Jennifer Bassman
Heritage Haus Farm • Empire Kunekune Pig Association / Kunekune Pork Produers Association

Information Products


  • Animals: swine


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, housing, meat processing, meat product quality/safety
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, study circle, workshop, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: business planning, cooperatives, farm-to-restaurant, feasibility study, marketing management, new enterprise development
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, partnerships

    Proposal summary:

    The Kunekune pig is a rare, but growing landrace breed of pig with many exceptional characteristics. Since facing near extinction in the 1970s, New Zealand’s native breed now has fairly healthy populations in countries across the globe, including the United States. As breeders are moving from saving the Kunekune pig to sustaining it, more and more people are looking to a model of preservation through utilization – the Kunekune pig as a pork animal. The Kunekune Pig in America is now finding a growing niche market for small farms, in sustainable farming systems, for permaculture, and with chefs, charcutiers, and caterers.

    We are a core group of experienced and Kunekune pig breeders and producers that seek to develop a cooperative model for joint marketing and sales of Kunekune pork that expands markets and increases overall income for sustainable farm operations. We seek to create a farmer-owned joint sales and marketing venture that is more profitable and accessible by seeking wholesale and retail channels available to us collectively that we would unable to reach as individual farmers.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Our main objective is to create a partnership that enables multiple farms to market and sell Kunekune porkin order to  share risks and benefits between a group of farmers selling pork together. A cooperative business model seems like the logical fit for our goals. Currently, three farmers who live within a 40-mile radius are prepared to make the operational changes involved, and three more are considering joining. All three committed farmers have been raising Kunekune Pigs between three and eight years. We have sold meat in individual cuts, wholesale to restaurants, and/or in wholes/halves via freezer trade. Since we have a group of farms that agreed to this first step, we will ask if this method of partnership can be developed and expanded as a model to others by creating a framework and providing thorough technical assistance in order to collaboratively produce high-quality Kunekune pork for the market.

    We seek to create written procedures and way of collaboration that solidifies a Kunekune pork cooperative. We seek SARE funds to develop five main components of establishing our partnership: membership, product consistency, logistics, market demand and marketing, promotion, brand development, and sales.

    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.