Marketing Meats

Local Meat Buying Guide 

This easy to use, consumer-oriented guide explains buying pork and beef as whole animals (or portions thereof). The guide explains marketing terms, storage and handling recommendations, types of meat inspection, meat weights (live vs. carcass vs. retail cuts), and common retail pork and beef cuts with color photos.

“The Butcher Stole My Meat!”

A one-page handout for customers who struggle to understand how a 1,200 lb. steer walked in and only about 475 lbs. of beef came out.  Give this handout to your new processing clients, or to your farmer and rancher clients to share with their customers who order halves and quarters.  


Marketing Beef for Small-Scale Producers

If you are a small-scale producer, marketing less than 100 beef a year, the way to market your beef for the least amount of time and money is to direct market in halves, quarters, and bundles. This document explains how to resolve common problems with selling halves, quarters, or bundles. The information is also relevant to marketing pork, lamb, or other meats directly.

USDA Grass Fed Program for Small and Very Small Producers

In 2014, USDA rolled out the “USDA Grass Fed Program for Small and Very Small Producers” administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.  The program is “designed as a verification tool for small and very small producers to certify that animals meet the requirements of the grass-fed marketing claim standard and will make them eligible to have their products marketed as USDA Certified Grass Fed Beef.” You can read more about the program here.  In November 2014, the USDA’s HACCP Contacts and Coordinators Meeting discussed this program.  The slides from that discussion can be found here.  

Beef Marketing Alternatives

Read online or download the pdf.
This publication, from the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service explores marketing alternatives for small-scale cattle ranchers who want to add value to the beef they produce. Part One: how to add value within conventional marketing, including retained ownership and cooperative marketing. Part Two: alternative marketing strategies, including niche markets for “natural,” lean, and organic beef, with additional production info about pasture-finished beef. Includes guidance on connecting with direct market consumers and developing a product; processing and legal issues; how to develop retail prices based on wholesale prices and desired mark-up; and how to determine carcass value.

Pork Marketing Alternatives

Read online or download the pdf.
This publication, from the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is for sustainable hog producers, who are creating products that many consumers want to buy but can’t find in their grocery stores . Consumers perceive sustainably raised pork to be healthier to eat, and they are willing to pay hog producers more for raising pigs in a manner that is humane, helps sustain family farms, and is environmentally friendly. This guide discusses aspects of direct marketing and niche markets, including legal considerations, labels, trademarks, processing regulations, and obstacles.

Direct Marketing Meat and Poultry: A Resource Guide

This publication, written by the New York Small Farms Work Team on Livestock Processing Issues, is aimed primarily for those in New York state. However, its 155 pages cover a wide range of valuable info that is relevant anywhere in the U.S. Download it as one document or by section, from the link above.

How to Direct Market Your Beef

This guidebook, by Arizona rancher Jan Holder, describes how she and her husband built a profitable, grass-based beef operation focused on direct marketing. It is organized to provide valuable instruction and tips on topics from slaughter to sales. The guide was published by the Sustainable Agriculture Network of SARE.



Meat Labels and Label Claims 


Date: July 8, 2009

Duration: 90 minutes

Meat labels can be confusing, for producers, processors, and consumers. On this NMPAN webinar (2009) officials from both the USDA/FSIS Labeling and Program Delivery Division, and Iowa Meat and Poultry Inspection, and the operations manager of Organic Valley’s meat division, Organic Prairie, explain the label approval process, voluntary label claims, updated requirements, and how FSIS interprets claims defined by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.


Product Costing for Meat Processors and Marketers 

Date: October 21, 2010

Duration: 1 hour

A processor and a marketer, both specializing in niche meats, explain the ins and outs of how to cost out products efficiently and effectively, including insights on inventory management.


Scroll to Top