An Illustrated Guide to Value Adding: Rules, Regulations & Good Ideas

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2022: $14,950.00
Projected End Date: 04/30/2025
Grant Recipient: Letterbox Farm Collective
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Nichole Carangelo
Letterbox Farm


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, new enterprise development, value added

    Proposal summary:

    Value-adding, or the process of changing an agricultural product from its unprocessed or minimally processed form into something that is worth more, has long been touted by farm agencies and educators as an opportunity for agrarians to increase profitability and demand for their products. After introducing a limited line of value-added products in 2020 on our farm, we have found this to be the case. In fact, by turning just a small portion of our meatbirds into pot pies and bone broths, we saw an increase in our profit margin for our poultry enterprise of 13%. Naturally, this success has us looking for more ways to add value to other farm products as well. Unfortunately, a dearth of available information regarding the regulations for value-added production has been slowing down our progress. As it turns out,  multiple agencies regulate the various forms of food processing and wading through the dense, difficult to find regulations has been incredibly difficult. Likewise, research and development of value-added products that prove profitable has been both time consuming and costly. For these reasons and more, we it’s time to compile all of the information into a single all-encompassing resource. Additionally, we believe that includingreal data along with complete enterprise guides for 5 demonstrably profitable and replicable value-added products will vastly aid farmers to begin value-added ventures of their own. Our guide, An Illustrated Guide to Value-Adding: Rules, Regs & Good Ideas, includes all of these aspects, laid out in a fun, easy to use format.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    We seek the opportunity to create a novel, inclusive resource for farmers interested in creating value-added enterprises. Our intention is to close the information gaps and equip farmers with all of the information necessary to create legal, profitable value-added enterprises. 

    We envision a ~10,000 word PDF guide titled An Illustrated Guide to Value-Adding: Rules, Regs & Good Ideas that:

    • Demonstrates using real case studies just how much value-adding can increase profitability for farmers
    • Curates all of the relevant rules from the various regulatory agencies involved and lays them out in a single clear and easy to read publication
    • Includes complete, detailed budgets for five tried and tested value-added products - one each for the most popular farm products: vegetables, beef, poultry, eggs and pork

    We plan to disseminate this guide to the masses by sharing it with farm educators and posting it on popular agricultural resource sharing platforms.

    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.