NMPAN Research

Here you’ll find links to research papers by NMPAN staff and others.  If you have research papers you’d like to see listed here, please send us an email: thistler@oregonstate.edu. Citations listed by order of publication (newest to oldest).

Thistlethwaite, R. (2022). FAQ About Using Custom-Exempt Slaughter and Processing Facilities in Oregon for Beef, Pork, Lamb, and Goat. OSU Extension Publication #EM9345. Oregon livestock producers selling retail cuts of meat by the package to consumers are required to have livestock slaughtered and processed at a USDA-inspected facility. However, some producers choose to sell live animals or shares in a live animal. The customers, as the new owners, can then have the animals processed at a “custom-exempt,” state-licensed facility. This practice is cost-effective for both farmer and customer. Learn the rules you must follow to qualify for the exemption.

Gwin, L. & Thistlethwaite, R. (2020). Best Practices Guide for Open-Air Poultry Slaughter. OSU Extension Publication #EM9273. Covers processing site, pest control, potable water, personal hygiene, cleaning vs. sanitizing, pathogen control, slaughtering practices, antimicrobial solutions, packaging, recordkeeping, wastewater, and Oregon specific rules. Although this guide is specific to Oregon laws for exempt poultry slaughter, the best practices are applicable anywhere on-farm poultry slaughter is allowed or for personal use.


Gwin, L. & Thistlethwaite, R. (2019). USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Briefing Paper: Lessons Learned from Public Investment in Local and Regional Meat and Poultry Processing Activities.

In 2017, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) entered into a cooperative research agreement with the Niche Meat Processor Association Network (NMPAN) to assess 20 years of public investment in local meat and poultry processing activities by AMS in the form of competitive grants. The report was completed in January 2019.

NMPAN analyzed 35 projects most relevant to meat and poultry processing including 12 Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), 21 Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP), and 2 Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), set of projects, totaling $2,113,983 in grant funds. The grants were awarded between 1999-2015. NMPAN reviewed project documents and interviewed past project leaders.

The report provides examples of projects where financial and technical resources have been used effectively, to inform more strategic decisions by policymakers and interested stakeholders. The report identified seven lessons learned and recommended strategies. These recommendations have been reviewed by AMS staff and are being taken under advisement. This document summarizes key findings.

Seven of the projects analyzed in this report, where highlighted in more depth in the following short 3 page case studies recently published in January 2020. You can read about the impetus for their grant-funded projects, lessons learned, and other great, practical advice for applying for and receiving AMS funds to conduct meat-related projects.

Thistlethwaite, R., Gwin L., & Quanbeck, K. (2018). State Poultry Processing Regulations. Version Date: November 2018. NMPAN Original Report.

Gwin, L. & Quanbeck, K. The Economics of Local Meat Processing. AgMag, Fall 2014. 

Why doesn’t every county have a local slaughterhouse?  This short article lays out, in straightforward terms, the economics behind local meat processing.

Gwin, L., & Thiboumery, A. (2014). Beyond the farmer and the butcher: Institutional entrepreneurship and local meat. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.530/jafscd.2014.042.007

Gwin, L., Thiboumery, A. & Stillman, R. (2013). Local Meat and Poultry Processing: The Importance of Business Commitments for Long-Term Viability. Economic Research Report 150. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Gwin, L. & Thiboumery, A. (2013). From Convenience to Commitment: Securing the Long-Term Viability of Local Meat and Poultry Processing. Oregon State University: NMPAN Technical Report.
***Essentially the same report as above but with policy recommendations included.***

Gwin, L. & Thiboumery, A. (2013). Local Meat Processing: Business Strategies and Policy Angles. Vermont Law Review. Vol. 37:987.

Johnson, R., Marti, D. & Gwin, L. (2012) Slaughter and Processing Options and Issues for Locally Sourced Meat.  Market Outlook Report. Economic Research Service. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Other Relevant Research on Slaughter and Meat Processing:


Blecha, J. (2015). Regulating backyard slaughter: Strategies and gaps in municipal livestock ordinances. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 6(1), 33–48. 

Blecha, Jennifer, and Adam Davis. Distance, proximity, and freedom: Identifying conflicting priorities regarding urban backyard livestock slaughter. Geoforum 57 (2014): 67-77.

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