- Author: John M Harper
Livestock producers, have you been thinking about going organic? From previous marketing studies, done as part of the Meat Industry Capacity and Feasibility Study of the North Coast Region of California, we know that it's possible to command a 30 percent or more price increase for organic meat products (see page vi of Executive Summary at http://cemendocino.ucanr.edu/files/44389.pdf). As those producers who are in this market niche will tell you, however, it is not an easy endeavor to become organic.
Fortunately for those of you wanting to try, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has two documents that are beneficial to read. The first, published in November of 2012, is entitled Guide for Organic Livestock Producers. It may be found at http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5101543. A second fact sheet entitled Organic Livestock Requirements was released in February of 2013 and is available at http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5102526.
This second publication is especially useful in spelling out the requirements for grazing ruminants. It even has a link (http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/NOPProgramHandbook) that will take you to the newly revised National Organic Program Standards Handbook and in it you will find links to help you calculate the dry matter intake (DMI) requirements for access to pasture http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5096778.
In addition, you may find the following link http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/organicinfo very useful to help you decide if organic production is for you.
- Author: John M Harper
The following is a repost from the American Sheep Industry Weekly.
Demand for locally sourced products in the United States has increased in recent years, but producers often claim that a lack of slaughter facilities is a key reason that it is not expanding more quickly, writes Chris Harris.
According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, although the share of total U.S. agricultural products sold through local food markets is small - direct-to-consumer sales accounted for 0.4 percent of total agricultural sales in 2007 - it continues to develop.
According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, direct-to-consumer marketing amounted to $1.2 billion in 2007, compared with $551 million in 1997, a growth of 118 percent, the report, Slaughter and Processing Options and Issues for Locally Sourced Meat by Rachel J. Johnson, Daniel L. Marti and Lauren Gwin said.
The 2007 numbers are the most recent available from the Census of Agriculture, as the 2012 census is currently being carried out.
The percentage of livestock operations selling product directly to consumers or retailers is much smaller than that for other agricultural products. In 2007, only 6.9 percent of livestock operations participated in direct sales, compared with 44.1 percent of all vegetable and melon farms.
The report said that limited slaughter and processing capacity is often cited, particularly by producers, as a key barrier to marketing their meat and poultry locally.
This report looks at the slaughter and processing capacity and options available to livestock producers selling into local markets. Read the report at www.ers.usda.gov/publications/ ldpm-livestock,-dairy,-and-poultry-outlook/ldpm216-01.aspx.