Small Breeders' Meat Marketing Project

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 1999: $7,650.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1999
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $8,930.00
Region: Northeast
State: Vermont
Project Leader:


  • Animals: bovine, goats, sheep, swine


  • Farm Business Management: cooperatives, marketing management, feasibility study, market study, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, urban/rural integration, community services, employment opportunities

    Proposal summary:

    Develop and test markets for specialty natural meats, especially Boston and New York restaurants. Few growers of pigs, lambs, goats, kids and veal have access to top-dollar markets for their top quality meats. Volume is not great enough to sustain an independent marketing operation-especially to the higher-paying markets at considerable distances away. The auctions tend to yield prices which are much too low to cover grain bills and other costs. Consequently, sheep, goat and pig farms are short-lived or deep in debt or too small to achieve economies of scale. They cannot compete with low prices charged by large factory farms. We hope to establish a sizable and expanding retail market for premium meats at roughly double the price now being paid to growers at auctions and by wholesale outlets and dealers. It will represent additional "income" by feed cost savings achieved by shipping animals at 3-6 months or age vs. 8-12 months. A 4 month old 25 lb lamb sells for about the same as a 10 month old 50 lb (dressed) lamb. Although the project will start small, it will be expandable and replicable in any area of the Northeast.

    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.