[Editor's note: a version of this article was originally published in the Food Safety and Inspection Service's Small Plant News. This post covers Rural Development loan programs available to small plants; an upcoming post will cover Rural Development grant programs.]
If you are a small packinghouse or processor and you want to expand, upgrade, or update your facility, assistance is available. As covered in the Volume 1, Number 3 issue of Small Plant News, USDA’s Rural Development is ready to offer assistance in the form of loans and grants, which this two-part series will examine. Read more »
Dan Forgey has always had an abiding respect for the land that he’s farmed for more than 40 years, which is why, as manager of the 8,500-acre Cronin Farms in Gettysburg, South Dakota, he strives to build soil health—and yields—sustainably. First, he shifted the farm to 100 percent no-till in 1993. Then in 2006, after spending years developing diverse crop rotations, he received a grant from Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, a USDA-funded grants and outreach program, to test the introduction of cover crops into his system. This move has given him higher yields with fewer inputs, and therefore better profits. Read more »
Puget Sound Meat Producers Cooperative was founded because small livestock producers' livelihoods were threatened by having to travel long distances to slaughterhouses. The Washington based slaughter unit operates at three venues on a weekly or semi-weekly schedule.
[Note: the following is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared in the November/December issue of Rural Cooperatives, a magazine published by USDA Rural Development]
Puget Sound Meat Producers Cooperative has been operating for just over a year, with a roll of 60 voting members in nine contiguous counties, and another 30 associate members. Read more »
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 »