Guide to Building a Meat Processing Facility

Created with SARE support
Christina Bakker, Amanda Blair | 2023

A new decision tool is now available for those interested in the meat industry. With support from a $39,863 NCR-SARE Partnership grant, South Dakota State University (SDSU) meat scientists teamed up with the South Dakota Animal Industry Board and meat industry professionals to guide producers in the upper Midwest through the requirements of establishing and operating small processing facilities.

“There is growing producer interest in establishing small meat processing facilities to provide alternative marketing opportunities. However, there are not enough small processors to meet this need,” said Amanda Blair, an Extension Meat Science Specialist at South Dakota State University (SDSU). “Producers want to take more control of their marketing options, but few possess the knowledge to operate a meat processing facility.” 

Blair worked with SDSU meat scientist Christina Bakker on an education and training program with producers regarding regulations and requirements of the meat industry. They developed a decision-making tool for those entering the meat industry. 

Two of the program partners involved with the project have moved forward with plans to enter the meat processing sector. One partner recently purchased an existing custom-exempt meat processing facility in southern Minnesota. The other partner has moved forward with plans to build a USDA-inspected meat processing facility in north central South Dakota.

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This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. 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.