Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Mapping Slaughter Availability in U.S.

This FSIS map shows the density of small livestock and poultry producers in relation to the locations of Federally- and State-inspected slaughter establishments. USDA uses the map to identify gaps in slaughter availability.

Meat and poultry products are important commodities within many local and regional food systems.  The production of these products for local and regional markets is of course dependent on the availability of facilities that slaughter and process livestock and poultry.  Media stories have recently documented the difficulties many small farmers and ranchers often face when searching for facilities to slaughter their animals for local markets; lack of a nearby slaughter facility or lengthy wait times for services are frequently cited problems. Read more »

USDA and SBA Team Up for Small Rural Business in Iowa

A participant of an Iowa Business Resource Roundtable. The discussions highlight traditional access to business resources and federal/state funding opportunities as well as learning opportunities for producers, entrepreneurs, and others interested in expanding their role in local food systems.

As I have been discussing Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food with producers and local-food advocates across Iowa, one thing has become quite evident: access to capital is a huge barrier.  In fact, at a meeting last month to develop an Iowa Food and Farm Plan that will be presented to the state legislature, access to traditional financing was listed as a major obstacle. Read more »

High Tunnels: A Three-Year Pilot Practice

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service supported the construction of over 4,200 high tunnels on farms throughout the country in 2010 and 2011.

As a heat wave consumes much of the country, especially here in Washington, DC, winter seems a long way off—unless you’re a farmer.  For the 2.2 million farms that grow our nation’s food, fiber, and fuel, it’s likely a good time to be thinking ahead to the upcoming harvest and preparing for the colder months.  One thing that may come to mind is a high tunnel, or a hoop house. Read more »