NMPAN Webinars



Next NMPAN webinar:


NMPAN webinars are recorded and archived below, by topic.
A few selected webinars from other groups are also listed.

Click on a webinar’s title for the slides, speaker info, and recording.

Topic Areas (click to jump to a topic):

Local Meat and Poultry Processing: the Big Picture


The National Meat Summits Steering Committee: Introduction and Opportunities to Collaborate

Date: June 20, 2023

Join NMPAN and Martha Sullins of Colorado State University to learn about the recently formed National Meat Summits Steering Committee, which works to build connections, increase knowledge, grow collective skills and advance market opportunities for local and regional meat supply chains.

Understanding Halal Certification for Meat Processors

Date: July 20, 2022

Have you thought about selling Halal meat? How about offering Halal slaughter at your plant? Halal certified food is expected to reach nearly $2 trillion in sales by 2024. Learn more about what is true Halal meat and how a meat processor can get certified and inspected to do Halal slaughter and processing of meat and poultry. Hear from two experts of the well-respected non-profit Halal Monitoring Services, a project of the Shariah Board of America.

Looking Back to Look Forward: Reflections on 10 years in the Niche Meat Processing Sector

Date: February 20, 2018

Duration: 76 minutes

What has happened in the world of niche meats and processing over the last decade? What does the future look like? How has NMPAN impacted businesses in the niche meat sector? Leaders in the world of niche meats shared their thoughts in this unique panel discussion.

Panelists included:

  • Dr. Lauren Gwin, co-founder and director of the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN)
  • Mike Lorentz, owner of Lorentz Meats in Cannon Falls, MN
  • Cory Carman, owner of Carman Ranch in Wallowa, OR
  • Joe Cloud, co-owner/general manager of True & Essential Meats in Harrisonburg, VA
  • Samantha Garwin, president of Fleishers Craft Butchery in New York, NY
  • Heather Sanford, owner of The Piggery, Ithaca, NY

Building the Capacity of Small Meat Processors: Successes and Lessons from North Carolina

Date: January 7, 2015
Duration: 1 hour
Local meat and poultry markets rely on small processors with a range of skills and services.  NC Choices, an initiative of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at North Carolina State University, spent two years working with a set of small processors in North Carolina, providing a range of technical assistance and support. The goal? Improve the quality and quantity of processing services available to the state’s livestock producers and to enhance the economic viability of both producers and processors.  On this webinar, NC Choices and two processors who participated in the project will tell us how they did it, what they accomplished, and why it matters.

Plant in a Box: A Solution for USDA-Inspected Poultry Processing?

Date: February 25, 2016
Duration: 75 minutes
Small-scale poultry producers are well aware that finding USDA-inspected processing is a big challenge.  Very few inspected poultry plants do fee-for-service processing, far fewer than for red meat, largely because it is hard to be profitable.  David Schafer, owner and founder of Featherman Equipment and NMPAN member, may have found a solution. He has built a “Plant in a Box” (PIB) that aims to be a turnkey answer for those looking to process chickens, turkeys and other poultry under USDA-inspection.  The PIB utilizes a recycled shipping container and comes ready to go: all the operator needs is a site pad, water, power, and a plan for effluent.
On this webinar, we talked with David Schafer about how the PIB concept got started and their plans for the future.  Then, we heard from John Smith of Maple Wind Farm in Vermont.  Maple Wind Farm is the first farm in the country to own and operate a PIB.  Smith told us about how they got started, successes, challenges and surprises along the way, and plans for the future.  Note: there were some technical difficulties with the audio on the webinar so if you have questions on any of the material presented, email us at nmpan@oregonstate.edu and we’ll connect you with the presenters.

Think Inside the Box: Containerized Meat Processing Solutions

Date: January 26, 2017
Duration: 65 minutes
Building a meat processing plant is not easy nor inexpensive. What if there were models that were quicker to build, faster to get online, and required less capital, particularly for smaller-scale producers? In this webinar you will hear about two such shipping container meat plant models, one for red meat and the other for poultry. Dr. Michele Pfannestiel of Dirigo Food Safety will discuss her Locker model and David Schafer will share his Plant in the Box unit. Hear about the design, equipment, site requirements, costs, and economics. The Locker is primarily for cut and wrap or value-added processing. The Plant in the Box is for full processing (slaughter through packaging) of poultry species.

Local Meat to Local Schools: Lessons Learned from the Montana Beef to School Project

Date: March 23, 2017

Duration: 67 minutes

The Montana Beef to School Project is a three-year collaborative project between several Montana beef producers and processors, schools and many stakeholders represented in the Montana Beef to School Coalition. In this recorded webinar you will hear from one of the project leaders, Thomas Bass of Montana State University Extension along with one of the key processing partners, Jeremy Plummer of Lower Valley Processing in Kalispell, about what they learned over the three years of this project.
Some of what you will learn in this webinar includes:

  • Discover the creative ways schools are working with producers and processors in Montana to procure local Montana beef.
  • Bring tested beef to school strategies to your own community through lessons learned from case studies across six beef to school partnerships in Montana.
  • Hear from the processor about the equipment, ordering systems, distribution, pricing, and other logistics of selling beef to schools.

Local Meat to Local Institutions- Challenges & Opportunities for Farmers & Packers

Date: Thursday, June 27, 2019

*Unfortunately, due to a technical error, this webinar was not recorded. You can scroll through the slide decks below under each speaker.

This panel included a farmer, a regional meat brand, and a vertically-integrated niche meat processor discussing the pros, cons, logistics and pricing of selling meat to institutions such as schools, hospitals, universities, and corporate kitchens. Is this the mid-scale market you have been dreaming of? We also heard briefly from a USDA AMS local foods specialist regarding grant and loan programs that could be used to advance this type of market channel diversification. This webinar was co-sponsored by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service as part of a cooperative agreement with NMPAN.

Regulations and Policy


Deregulation for Small Meat Processors: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly 

Date: August 24, 2023
Duration: 120 minutes


This discussion, led by David Zarling of NMPAN and Denise Perry, PhD,  addresses risks and rewards that could result in the Federal Government giving meat processing regulation back to the states to decide what regulations warrant what type of sales for small & very small processors. We hear from the NMPAN community about questions, concerns, benefits and possible solutions to how we could deregulate meat processing and sales but still ensure the American public receives wholesome products.


Know Your Rights: Understanding Non-Compliance Records and Navigating Appeals Process

Date: October 29, 2020

Duration: 59 minutes

This webinar featured Dr. Michael Fisher, former FSIS employee and Dr. Denise Perry, plant manager at Lorentz Meats, discussing what are NRs and how to appeal them. They also stress the importance of keeping emotion out of your conversations with your inspectors, particularly when it comes to NRs. Learn some valuable takeaways in this webinar.


Engagement with FSIS Policy: Experiences From The Field

Date: August 17, 2017
Duration: 75 minutes

Hear from a panel of speakers who are engaging with USDA FSIS policy as it relates to small meat plants and niche meats. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, with NMPAN’s help, is steering a small plant policy group that is meeting quarterly with top FSIS leadership to address policy concerns for small operators. These concerns include issues around humane handling rules, inspector training, pathogen testing, labeling, outreach to small plants, funding, and more. Learn what these folks are up to, what concerns are most pressing for them, and what they believe are potential policy levers for change. We will conclude with next steps and ways others can get involved in having their voices heard. Speakers included: Ferd Hoefner, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Carrie Balkom, American Grassfed Association, Brian Sapp, White Oak Pastures, Denise Perry, Lorentz Meats, Greg Gunthorp, Gunthorp Family Farm, and Lauren Gwin of NMPAN.


USDA-FSIS Draft Compliance Guide for Mobile Slaughter Units

Date: July 13, 2010
Duration: 1 hour

On May 24, 2010 USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a draft “Mobile Slaughter Unit Compliance Guide.” The guide was written for owners and managers of a new or existing red meat or poultry MSU who want to operate under federal inspection. On this webinar we explain the guidance and answer questions with the help of a Policy Officer from USDA-FSIS.


Interstate Shipment of State-Inspected Meat Proposed Rule

Date: October 20, 2009
Duration: 45 min.

The 2008 Farm Bill included a provision to allow the interstate sale of state-inspected meat and poultry. In September 2009, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service published proposed rules for how this program will work. On this webinar, we explain the proposed rules, discuss “messy details” and areas of controversy, and give background on the issue.


Meat Labels and Label Claims

Date: July 8, 2009
Duration: 90 minutes – Webinar no longer hosted, but summary and presentation materials still available.

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


Poultry Processing Exemptions

Date: March 10, 2009
Duration: 90 Minutes

Poultry processing exemptions can be difficult for producers, processors, and even regulators to sort out. Recognizing that states have the ability to individually modify these regulations, this webinar attempts to clear up some confusion by offering both an FSIS and a state perspective. Additionally, three exempt processors overview their operations.


Poultry Processing Exemptions II (2010)

Date: December 7, 2010
Duration: 1 hour

The federal poultry processing exemptions remain confusing for producers, processors, and even regulators, especially since most states have added their own modifications to the federal regulations. In this webinar, a policy official from USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service explains the exemptions, and a state official from North Carolina explains how that state recently decided to allow one of the most important federal exemptions.


Poultry Processing Exemptions Revisited (2017)

Date: May 25, 2017

Duration: 72 minutes

USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) staff respond to some of more challenging questions regarding the federal poultry processing exemptions (Public Law 90-492). NMPAN gathered questions ahead of time from producers regarding issues such as where you can market your poultry, can you cut-up and further process your poultry, what category do producers or groups of producers fall under, what kind of records should be kept, are there any facility requirements expected, and more. A link to the Guidance For Determining Whether a Poultry Slaughter or Processing Operation is Exempt From Inspection Requirements of the Poultry Products Inspection Act that was discussed in the webinar is here.

Nutritional Labeling of Meat and Poultry: the New Rules

Date: October 4, 2011
Duration: 1 hour 

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service finalized new rules in 2010 about nutritional labeling of meat and poultry products. The new rules are effective on January 1, 2012 — that means everyone must be in compliance.  On this webinar, FSIS explained the rules and what you need to know to comply. Also, Brynn Kepler of the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) described their labeling resources.

Plant Operations

NMPAN Live: Optimizing Production Yields for Profit and Efficiency

Date: October 5th, 2023
Duration: 78 minutes

In this NMPAN Live, join Charlie Bierne, Fabrication Operations Specialist, while he looks to pinpoint where those unnoticed financial losses accumulate in your production, often resembling hidden pennies. These issues frequently emerge in product output yields. By optimizing these yields, we can uncover and address these concealed financial drains, leading to enhanced profitability and operational effectiveness.

Management and Accounting Tools for Processors

Integrated Yield Tracking & Traceability Software for Co-Packing Facilities

Date: April 5, 2019
Duration: 72 minutes

Watch Donna Moore of Piedmont Custom Meats (North Carolina) discuss the Minotaur program she uses in her two USDA multi-species plants and Joe Cloud of T & E Meats (Virginia) discuss the brand new Carlisle Technology program he uses in his USDA plant. Both co-pack for hundreds of farmers and have to manage complex systems of meat tracking and accounting. These tracking/traceability programs can save labor, reduce error, improve customer satisfaction, and open up new market opportunities.

Product Costing for Meat Processors and Marketers

Date: October 21, 2010
Duration: 1 hour

Order & Inventory Management

Date: April 27, 2010
Duration: 1 hour
How to keep track of everything? Three meat companies showcase the computer systems they are using: why they use them, how they work, and how much they cost.

Third-Party Audits for Small and Mid-Sized Meat Processors

Date: April 5, 2011
Duration: 68 minutes

Voluntary Third Party Audits for Meat Processors: Organic Certification and Animal Welfare Approved

Date: November 30, 2017
Duration: 70 minutes

Small meat plants serve a wide diversity of customers. Some of those customers may be asking for your plant to offer organic processing or to comply with special animal welfare practices so that they can market to certain customers and assure the integrity of their meat. Could going through the process of organic certification or passing an animal welfare review open up new customer segments for you? Is it worth it? What kind of changes to your infrastructure, equipment, or SOPs might be needed? Will the benefits outweigh the potential costs? Speakers in this webinar included: Tim Holmes of Animal Welfare Approved, Sep Harvin of Williamsburg Packing Co., Aaron Zeis of Oregon Tilth, and Tracy Smarciarz of Heritage Meats.

Cost Analysis: Are You Making Money?

Date: March 19, 2014

Duration: 60 minutes

Many meat processors watch their checkbook balances and hope for the best.  Some wade through P&L statements looking for answers and often come up short.  Most small processors don’t fully understand why they are or aren’t making money and what they can do about it.  Learn how to develop systems that will give you the financial information you need to make decisions that improve your business’ performance.

The Business of Dry Curing

Date: June 25, 2014
Duration: 60 minutes

There has been significant consumer interest in dry cured charcuterie products, like salumi, in recent years.  Consumers love it, chefs want it and it is a good way for producers and processors to get more value out of a carcass and/or really set their brand apart.  Yet making dry cured products can be challenging and not always cost effective. On this webinar we’ll cover the Business of Dry Curing: we’ll hear about the growth of artisan cured meats, the basics of the business and talk to two charcuterie processors about how they got started, their day to day operations and the costs and revenue for dry curing.

Plant Management Strategies to Reduce Fall Season Stress

Date: Sept. 9, 2014

Duration: 1 hour

Small Plant Operators: do you dread the busy fall season? It can be the most lucrative time of year for small meat processing facilities, but is also often the most stressful. Your plant is at full capacity between fee-for-service processing customers, hunters and holiday orders, customers want it all and they want it right now, overtime pay spikes, equipment breaks down, and you and your employees are stressed out.  Sounds familiar?  On this webinar, Nick McCann shares real life examples and proven strategies for solving common problems in meat plant management: excessive overtime, stressed out employees, customer complaints, and quality problems that often occur during the busy fall season.  (SLIDES ONLY: RECORDING NOT AVAILABLE)


Profiles in Small-Scale Processing: Blue Ridge Meats

Date: May 28, 2015

Duration: 1 hour

What makes a small-scale processing plant successful? We get asked that question on a regular basis, by NMPAN members and many others. People want to hear from operators who are making it work, using creative and innovative approaches to tackle the difficult challenge of profitability for a small-scale plant.On this webinar, we got a “behind the scenes” peek at Blue Ridge Meats, a small, USDA-inspected slaughter and processing facility in Front Royal, VA. Lois Aylestock, VP, described how they manage day to day operations, getting and keeping customers, bookkeeping, employee management, and more.  She told us about systems they’ve developed, what has worked (and what hasn’t), and — this is a big one — what she wishes she knew before they got started. 

Humane Handling at the Processing Plant

Date: June 17, 2015

Duration: 1 hour

On this webinar, we learned about humane handling practices at the processing plant.  We discussed steps producers and processors can take to ensure humane treatment and how animal handling impacts meat quality.  We spoke with two humane handling experts, Anna Bassett and Tim Holmes, about the research that backs AWA’s technical info and slaughter standards as well as their Animal Welfare Officer and Poultry Welfare Officer courses.Introducing a 2-part series on Human Resources Best Practices

Part 1- Find Em’, Keep Em’: How to find, hire, train, & retain good labor for your meat plant

Date: May 2, 2018
Duration: 71 minutes

Hear from 3 meat processors different strategies and best practices for finding, hiring, training, and retaining decent staff for their facilities. Panelists included Joe Cloud of T & E Meats in Virginia, a USDA inspected red meat plant that co-packs for several hundred farmers; Bruce Hennessey of Maple Wind Farms in Vermont, a USDA inspected on-farm poultry plant and livestock farm; and Evan Gunthorp of Gunthorp Farms in Indiana, a USDA inspected on-farm red meat and poultry plant and livestock farm. Find a recording of this webinar here.

Business Planning and Plant Design

Meat in the Middle Webinar: Paicines Ranch Learning Center & Cienega Capital

Presented by Paicines Ranch Learning Center & Cienega Capital, this webinar features a conversation on the middle of the meat supply chain and what it takes to make a processing operation financially successful. Esther Park and Mike Lorentzdiscuss what conditions make for an economically viable and maybe even investable plant, and what the supply challenges are from his viewpoint.


Taking the Long View: Our Story of Planning to Launch a New USDA-Inspected Facility in Southeast Michigan

Date: March 10th, 2022

Duration: 75 minutes

Feeling stressed about planning to launch a new meat processing facility with USDA inspection? This group of entrepreneurs in SE Michigan sure were. Now, as a result of their patient planning and due diligence, they are confident in their business plan and future success in the meat industry. Join this webinar to review their top lessons learned from this unique planning journey that started in 2014. The food business consultancy New Venture Advisors (NVA) completed Damian’s Craft Meats feasibility study in October 2021. After bootstrapping the business and then receiving $120,000 in grant funds, the group is finally preparing to bring their vision to fruition in 2022.

Join the panel of three speakers as they share what they learned from this planning process, including the benefits and challenges of:

  1. Securing grants, based on our experience as a 2020 USDA Local Food Promotion Planning grant recipient.
  2. Collaborating with a consultant to complete a feasibility study and support business planning, facility drawings, and identifying partners.
  3.  Collaborative planning and working with others in the meat value chain, including farmers, distributors, and intermediaries.

Speakers include:

Damian Rivera is an entrepreneur in the meat industry who apprenticed in USDA-inspected and custom-exempt slaughterhouses prior to launching DCM. His close connections with local producers and experience in humane handling, slaughter, and specialized butchery and cutting are what have led to higher demand for his services. These connections originated in Mexico with his family’s agricultural roots.-

Rosemary Linares is currently a consultant to the nonprofit industry with extensive experience in management and strategic planning. Slaughtering is in her DNA, passed down from her great-grandfather who launched their family’s meat processing business before World War II.

Andrea J Carbine is a consultant with New Venture Advisors who specializes in food facility planning and development and supports projects nationally in the good food space.

Buy or Build: Evaluating buying, renovating, or building a new meat plant

Date: December 6, 2018

Duration: 65 minutes

Panel discussion with three USDA inspected meat processors (Jessica Smith Roosa of This Old Farm, Tracy Smaciarz of Heritage Meats, Matthew Campbell of West Texas Meats) who have either purchased existing plants, renovated them, or built brand new facilities. What was their thought process? Pros and cons of how they went about launching their plants and how they financed them. William Kitsch, Vice President of Agricultural Lending at Ephrata National Bank in Ephrata, PA rounded out the discussion to talk from a bankers perspective as well as share some potential financing options.


This Study May Save You Millions: Writing a quality feasibility study for your meat business

Date: September 18, 2018

Duration: 65 minutes

Before you leap into starting a new meat business, erecting a building, or purchasing an existing meat business, you should start with a solid understanding of whether or not the project is viable. Is there a market? What are the projected profits? How will you assure throughput? A good quality feasibility study will help you answer those questions before you leap. This webinar featured Ted LeBow and Rebecca Frimmer of Kitchen Table Consultants, an experienced food & ag consulting firm with years of experience crafting feasibility studies, business and marketing plans, and more. They drew from experience writing several meat processing feasibility studies in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and more.


Co-Op Owned and Operated Processing Plants: Cattle Producers of Washington and the LPCA Plant

Date: July 26, 2016

Duration: 60 minutes

Livestock producer co-ops are often interested in owning and operating their own processing plants.  On this webinar, we heard the story of one co-op, Cattle Producers of Washington, and their journey to build and operate their own plant, the CPoW LPCA Plant in Odessa, WA.  We learned how they got started, how they financed the plant, and heard about the build-out process.  We also talked about the LPCA’s first few years of operation: successes, challenges, and surprises along the way.

Innovations in Wastewater Management for Small Meat Processors

Date: July 23, 2013

Duration: 50 minutes

Wastewater management can be very challenging and expensive for small meat and poultry processors. On this webinar, you’ll learn about an innovative and cost-effective solution — constructed wetlands — being used by a small, USDA inspected poultry and red meat slaughter and processing plant in rural Indiana.

The Business of Meat Processing: Planning and Profitability

Date: June 2, 2011
Duration: 1 hour, 15 min.
Planning to expand, change, or build a new meat processing business? Trying to figure out how to make your small processing business more profitable? On this webinar, business management and planning experts will address these important topics and answer your questions. We will also roll out two new user-friendly guides for small meat processors on planning and profitability.

Building a Small Meat Processing Plant

Date: May 26, 2009
Duration: 1 hour
Thinking about building a new plant? Want to expand your existing plant? Considering getting into the meat processing business? This webinar will help you understand the process and the pitfalls of plant design and construction.

Food Safety & Quality

Date: March 5, 2020
Duration: 65 minutes

All about making delicious smoked meats on a commercial scale while operating your smokehouse safely (and not burning down your plant!). Our expert panelists discussed smokehouse types, picking the right equipment/size for your operation, smokehouse operations, recordkeeping, value-added meat products, cleaning, and safety. Speakers included Mike Smucker of Smuckers Meats, Collier Nix of Kerres USA, and Jon Frohling of Scottpec. Please note this webinar had technical difficulties the first 10 minutes and Mike Smucker was unable to present his slides. So the bulk of the webinar was with Collier Nix & Jon Frohling.

Microbiology 101 for Small Meat Processors

Date: February 1, 2012
Duration: 95 minutes
Meat processors increasingly need to understand microbiology concepts and terms, from N-60 sampling and multi drug resistance to Non-0157 STECs, CFU, APC, PCR, and PFGE. Two Pennsylvania State University food scientists with many years experience working with small meat processors explain the basic microbiological terms that processors – and their customers – need to understand. The webinar has four sections: Microorganisms in Food, Pathogens, Spoilage Organisms, and Microbial Analysis.

Microbiology 201 for Small Meat Processors

Date: August 29, 2012
Duration: 90 minutes
In this webinar, our Microbiology 101 instructors take us to the next level, focusing on microbiological sampling, both why and how. The webinar has four sections: (1) goals and basics of microbiological sampling, (2) environmental sampling and two examples: listeria and sanitation verification, (3) product sampling, and (4) how to choose a microbiological testing lab.

Controlling Listeria: What You Need to Know about USDA’s New Guidance

Date: November 27, 2012
Duration: 90 minutes

In September, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued revised guidance about controlling Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. On this webinar, Penn State University food safety scientists Martin Bucknavage and Catherine Cutter explain the revised guidance document and what processors need to know to comply.

This webinar was co-sponsored by the American Association of Meat Processors, the North American Meat Association.

Natural Curing for Meats

Date: March 4, 2010
Duration: 1 hour

As interest rises in cured meats made without synthetic nitrates/nitrites, processors are seeking information on safe and effective methods. On this webinar, meat scientists, a processor, and an organic meats marketer explain ingredients, processes, and challenges to natural curing, as well as product labeling issues.

HACCP in an Hour

Date: May 29, 2014
Duration: 1 hour

HACCP — Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point — has been around for decades as a food safety management system in many different industries. Starting in 2000, USDA required all inspected meat & poultry establishments to have a HACCP plan in place and to follow that plan. So what is it? How does it work? What are the basics?  On this webinar, you’ll learn the ABCs of HACCP — vocabulary and basic concepts — from an experienced HACCP instructor, Jonathan Campbell from Penn State University.

Mobile Units

Mobile Slaughter Units (MSUs): An International Perspective

Date: February 18, 2015
Duration: 1 hour
The first USDA-inspected mobile slaughter unit (MSU) for red meat species began operating in 2002. Since then, MSUs have not only evolved in size and design but have also gone international: Europe, South America, Papua New Guinea, and soon in Africa.  On this webinar we heard about MSUs operating both in the U.S. and overseas: learning how they meet regulatory requirements, handle animals humanely, manage water, assure food safety, and more.  We discussed MSU design concepts, challenges and future improvements. 

Mobile Slaughter Units (Red Meat): Reports from the Field and Future Directions

Date: September 10, 2013
Duration: 90 minutes
Inspected mobile slaughter units for beef, bison, and other red meat species have been operating for more than a decade. How are they working out? What have we learned? And how might the next generation of MSUs be different? On this webinar, we heard from seasoned MSU pioneers — from New Mexico, South Dakota, and Colorado — about their experiences, lessons learned, and ideas for the future

Mobile Poultry Processing Units: Reports from the Field

Date: April 5, 2012
Duration: 90 minutes
Coordinators and others involved with five mobile poultry processing units on the ground in Vermont, Montana, Massachusetts (2), and Kentucky explain how their units work, accomplishments to date, costs, and lessons learned.

Mobile Poultry Processing Units in California, Montana, and Vermont

Date: October 14, 2009
Duration: 1 hour
Coordinators of three new mobile poultry processing units explain how the units work and discuss challenges, strategies, and lessons learned in bringing these units on line.

Mobile Processing Units: What’s the State of the Art?

Date: December 10, 2008
Duration: 1 hour
This webinar features the first USDA-inspected red meat MPU; the latest ideas and options for mobile units; policy challenges to getting an MPU up & running in Montana; and an economic feasibility cost-calculator spreadsheet for MPUs.

USDA-FSIS Webinars on Mobile Slaughter Units

Dates: January 20 and 21, 2010
Duration: 90 minutes each
Description:These two webinars, offered by USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service, explain red meat and poultry mobile slaughter units. Presentations cover technical and practical aspects, regulatory compliance, and financial assistance programs. Recordings and slides available (January 2010).

Waste Management


Innovations in Waste Management for Meat Processors

Date: May 30 2023
Duration: 90 Minutes

As we all know, small and mid-sized meat processors are running out of options for solid waste management. Landfills are now charging exorbitant rates, if they’ll take processing waste at all. Many states do not allow composting, and rendering companies have all but disappeared.

Alternative Wastewater Treatment for Meat Processors

Date: January 16, 2020
Duration: 1 hour, 4 minutes
Hear from three innovative small-scale slaughterhouse operators how they manage their wastewater effluent using custom, site-built biologically-based solutions that produce clean water, minimal smells, and happy neighbors. This webinar is especially useful for plants that are not connected to municipal sewage treatment systems or where that simply is not an option.

Panelists included:

Brian Sapp, Director of Operations, White Oak Pastures, Georgia

Greg Gunthorp, Owner/Operator, Brushy Prairie Packing/Gunthorp Family Farms, Indiana

-Holly Zink, Co-Owner of Sunnyside Farms Market and Sunnyside Meats, Colorado

Waste Management at the Processing Plant

Date: March 30, 2016
Duration: 1 hour

Managing, treating and removing solid waste and wastewater often comes at a significant cost for small-scale meat processing facilities.  For those new to meat processing, or those looking for new ideas for their plant, this webinar provided a general overview on waste management for both solid waste and wastewater.  We discussed wastewater management, basic systems and pre-treatment options, and regulations.  We also covered solid waste streams (things like manure, bones, trim, etc.) and solutions for dealing with those various waste streams.

Innovations in Wastewater Management for Small Meat Processors

Date: July 23, 2013

Duration: 50 minutes

Finding an affordable and legal way to manage wastewater can be very challenging for small meat and poultry processors. In this webinar, you will learn about an innovative, economic approach that a small, USDA-inspected processor in rural Indiana is using with great results: a constructed wetlands system. Greg Gunthorp of Brushy Prairie Packing and Gunthorp Farms, and Craig Chivers, environmental sanitarian with LaGrange County Health Department, explain how the system is designed and how it works, give data about its effectiveness in improving water quality, and discuss costs, the permitting process, and other aspects of using this type of system for a meat plant.

Alternatives to Rendering: Butcher Waste Composting

Date: December 1, 2009
Duration: 1 hour
Disposal of offal and butcher waste is often increasingly difficult and expensive, as renderers close down or raise prices. Composting this waste has been demonstrated as a viable, safe alternative. An expert in butcher waste composting explains how it’s done, and a small meat processor in Oregon describes his composting operation, including regulations and permitting process.

Working Effectively With Your Processor

Understanding the Processor’s Language

Date: September 15, 2009
Duration: 60 minutes
The Executive Director of the American Association of Meat Processors explains how processors do what they do, from yield grades and cutting specifications, inspection and other regulatory requirements, meat handing and shelf life, improving communications with your processor, and more.

Working Effectively with Your Processor

Date: August 24, 2011
Duration: 1 hour

On this webinar, Kathleen Harris of the Northeast Livestock Processing Company spoke about how producers and processors can work more effectively together to overcome common problems. Bruce Dunlop of Island Grown Farmers Cooperative described the processing scheduling system their group uses for its own processing facilities.

Educating Your Processing Customers: Customer Manuals

Date: February 27, 2013
Duration: 1 hour

Some processors give their new processing customers a “how to work with us” manual, to help with the education process. On this webinar, we learned about manuals used by two small plants: Wells Jenkins Wells, in North Carolina, and Homegrown Poultry, in Idaho. We also showed an online model you can use to write your own.

Finger Lakes Meat Project: Meat Locker & Meat Suite

Date: November 18, 2015
Duration: 1 hour

The Finger Lakes Meat Project is a regional initiative in New York State to grow the freezer trade (sales of meat in bulk quantities such as whole, half and quarter animals) to benefit livestock farmers and consumers. The Project consists of educational efforts, an online directory of farms called The Meat Suite and two community freezers in Central NY called The Meat Locker.  On this archived webinar recording, you can learn more about the project, how it got started and its value to local farms.

(Partner Webinar) Food Animal Concerns Trust: Direct Marketing Meat- The Logistics of Meat Processing

Date: December 11, 2018
Duration: 1 hour
Join Rebecca Thistlethwaite of the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network to discusses how to get your animals processed into sellable meat for different market channels, including how to prepare your animals for slaughter and the various regulations involved. Includes packaging, labeling, and pricing. Aimed towards a beginner audience.

Recording of webinar here

Slide presentation only here 

Animal Health & Welfare Best Practices

NMPAN Live: Humane Handling Q&A with the Humane Handling Institute

Date: October 28th, 2023
Duration: 60 minutes

Dr. Kurt Vogel and Ashlynn Kirk of the Humane Handling Institute at University of Wisconsin -River Falls will explain their exciting new program and field all of your most pressing humane handling questions!

We  troubleshoot handling and stunning related challenges, beginning with scenarios that we have experienced at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. Then, we  discuss the benefits of implementing a robust humane handling program in slaughter establishments of all sizes.

Understanding the Key Diseases of Hogs for Producers and Processors

Date: April 28, 2022
Duration: 60 minutes

Hear from an expert panel as they discuss the following topics, relevant to both hog producers and process.

  • What are the swine diseases we may want to be worried about? African Swine Fever, Classical Swine Fever, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, & others?
  • What are the current best practices to mitigate spread in pastured production?
  • What is SHIP and how will the concept help small and pastured producers?
  • How does this apply to processors? How can they prevent pig disease transmission at their facilities?

Panelists include: Dr. Michele Pfannestiel, Dr. Tyler Holck, Dr. Giovanni Trevisan, and Jordan Kraft.

Watch the recording here.


Writing a Robust Systematic Humane Handling & Slaughter Plan

Date: September 27, 2019
Duration: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Do you slaughter animals under inspection (or want to)? Then watch this webinar featuring Ben Meyer of Revel Meat Company who recently completed a Robust Systematic Humane Handling & Slaughter Plan with the help of a consultant and is now happy to share it with others. Also on the panel was Dr. Sallee Dixson, DVM, of the USDA FSIS. Dr. Dixson is currently a Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV) Relief with Denver District. Her career with FSIS includes five years focused on the humane handling (HH) of livestock and good commercial practices (GCP) for poultry. As the first Humane Handling Enforcement Coordinator, she served as the primary national FSIS contact for issues on HH and GCP issues, oversaw the national coordination of HH/GCP policy implementation for FSIS, and coordinated with the 15 DVMSs on correlation of HH/GCP activities among districts.

Dr. Sallee Dixson’s slide show presentation

Revel Meat Co (formerly Mark’s Meats) 2019 Robust Systematic Humane Handling Plan

Consciousness Training Posters (displayed around Revel Meat Co. kill floor), zip file

Shot Placement Posters (displayed around Revel Meat Co. kill floor), zip file


Best Practices for Kosher & Halal Slaughter in Small USDA-inspected Slaughterhouses

Date: April 17, 2019
Duration: 70 minutes

NMPAN was thrilled to have an hour webinar with Dr. Joe Regenstein, one of the world’s foremost experts on religious animal slaughter, to better understand what exactly is Kosher and Halal animal slaughter, how it can be done under USDA inspection, and what are the best practices to assure humane kill under these religious tenets.

Dr. Joe M. Regenstein is a Professor Emeritus of Food Science in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, a member of the Program of Jewish Studies and the Comparative Muslim Societies Program. Dr. Regenstein heads the Cornell Kosher and Halal Food Initiative (CKHFI). Dr. Regenstein is now on the advisory board of the Food Diversity Innovation Program at Texas A&M University and on an advisory board for the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America. Dr. Regenstein has also worked on a halal standards committee of the Islamic Society of North American and on a committee to develop an accreditation program for the Muslim Society of Britain.

Slide presentation can be found here Office presentation iconOSUKH2019(1).ppt

An additional paper Dr. Joe authored that deep dives into Kosher Slaughter practices can be found here PDF iconkosherCompRev(1).pdf

Western Meat School Webinar Series: Animal Handling Best Practices from Farm to Slaughterhouse

Date: April 5th, 2021
Duration: 60 minutes

Keep your livestock happy and low-stress at the end of their lives. This is more humane and preserves good meat quality. Webinar features Dr. Ron Gill of Texas A & M AgriLife Extension and Stockmanship & Stewardship.

Learning objectives included:
-sorting & loading infrastructure on farm
-humane animal handling
-transportation & unloading at slaughterhouse
-reducing animal stress at the end of their lives

Selling and/or Marketing Meat 


NMPAN Live: Ask Me Anything– Market Channels and Pricing For Each, Intro to Wholesaling Meat

Date: November 30th, 2023
Duration: 60 minutes

Join NMPAN Community members as they ask Kathryn Quanbeck anything about wholesale meat sales: selling to retail grocery stores, foodservice or institutions. Kathryn, Meat Sales expert and NMPAN Research Manager, discusses everything from how to find customers,  how to price and package your products, promotions and sales, order timing and cadence, transportation and delivery, and invoicing. 

NMPAN Live: Regenerative Brand Strategies for Small Meat Brands

Date: July 29, 2023
Duration: 75 minutes

Please join Claire Everson, founder of Western Reign Creative (WRC), for a discussion on creating healthy impacts for people, the planet and profitability through creative storytelling and regenerative brand strategies. During workshop, Claire will give a framework for decision-making that builds compounding returns within their business, increasing the lifetime value of the customer and building resilience within their industry.


NMPAN Live – Email Marketing Basics: Raising the Steaks with Mailchimp

Date: July 29, 2023
Duration: 75 minutes

In this webinar, Mara Steinitz, of Taste Profit Marketing, demonstrates how to make a simple newsletter template on MailChimp before answering the audience’s email marketing questions. Learn how Email marketing can be easy, efficient and worth your time!

Western Meat School Webinar Series: Farming the Internet- Building your Customer Base through Social Media

Date: March 1, 2021
Duration: 60 minutes

Learn how to connect with new customers and cultivate loyal customers for your meat business (or other farm products) by strategically using social media and other online communication tools. Join Dahlia Dill of Chandler Pond Farm from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont as she shares what she has learned about best practices. This farm not only sells grassfed beef, but also berries, maple syrup, hay, vegetables, and other value-added products. They have a seasonal farmstand as well as an online store where they ship products across the nation direct to consumers. Their Facebook business page has over 2,500 followers and their Instagram page has nearly 1,500.


The Pork Checkoff & Niche Pork: Resources, consumers trends, and producer voices

Date: January 21, 2021
Duration: 60 minutes

In this webinar, we discussed the value, insights, and resources the Pork Checkoff brings to the niche producer community. Also hear from two niche pork producers about their marketing, consumer engagement and trends. Speakers included: Todd Rodibaugh – Director of Producer and State Engagement, National Pork Board; Chris Jones- Director of Marketing, Promotions, & Partnerships, National Pork Board; Matt Beach – An independent, niche producer from Missouri; and
Logan Thornton – Producer from Flying Pig Farm in Idaho.

Slides only are available here: Pork Board Slides

Date: April 2, 2020
Duration: 75 minutes
Hear from three experienced panelists who sell their meats online & ship direct to consumers. Let’s turn the COVID-19 pandemic into an opportunity to connect our niche meats to hungry consumers. Topics will include: regulations, setting up an online store, different web platforms, accepting payments, updating inventory, meat selection, subscriptions versus ala-carte orders, boxes, insulation, dry ice, maintaining cold chain, shipping carriers, costs.
Panelists included:
Matthew Lawrence, Marble Creek Farmstead & Marble City Meats USDA plant, AL
Adrienne Larrew, Corner Post Meats, CO
Brian Brozovic, Painted Hills Natural Beef, OR
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