[Market-farming] Selling of Meat in Minnesota

Dave Lilligren dave at lilligren.com
Fri Jan 3 12:56:25 EST 2003

Dear Friends:

I did some research on the matter of selling meat in the state of Minnesota
about a year ago.

If you want to sell cuts to people, you must have the animal slaughtered at
a USDA-inspected facility.  That's the first step.  Then, you must have a
food handler's license from the MDA (Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture) in
order to sell the meat.  This involves having a state-approved facility on
your farm, including MDA-approved freezers.  The room in which the meat is
stored cannot be part of your house.

One way around all of this, of course, is to sell the animal while it is
still alive (i.e., "on the hoof").  Instead of selling cuts, you would then
sell halves or quarters.  The individual is really paying for a live animal
that you are having processed.  The facility for processing does not need to
be USDA-inspected.  This is known as "custom processing."

When selling a custom-processed beef animal, you usually charge your
customer based on the hanging weight, plus processing fees (or you could
write the cost of processing into the hanging weight price).  Hanging weight
on a steer is usually about 60% of the live weight.  Once the meat is
processed, you lose another 20 to 30 percent of the hanging weight,
depending on how much waste there is.  The longer you age the meat, for
example, the more waste that will have to be removed.  Plus, you are getting
rid of the bigger bones and excess fat.

On our farm, we only sell halves and quarters, as we do not yet have a
facility that is MDA-approved, which is a prerequisite to get a food
handler's license.  I don't know the legal issues concerning selling meat
across state lines.

Hope this answers some of your questions!

Take care,

Dave Lilligren
Sandstone, MN


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