If you are a farmer struggling to find processing services and/or retail avenues:
- It may be time to start thinking about teaming up with other producers (veg or meat) to offer combined CSAs or bulk buying options for consumers. The CSA Innovation Network is an excellent resource.
- For farmers who are solely selling direct to consumers, check out this excellent guide: The Direct Market Farmers Guide to Covid-19. Also, check out this Guide to Direct Sales Software Platforms put out by National Young Farmers Coalition.
- If you are considering launching a CSA, check out some of the online-marketplace platforms built for this like Local Food Marketplace or CSAware.
- If you are looking for processing in your region. Visit the Food Safety Inspection Service and Meat & Poultry Inspection Service's database of USDA processing facilities in your area. Rebecca Thistlethwaite, director of the Niche Meat Processor's Assistance Network (NMPAN) says "Right now is typically the slow season for slaughter facilities so farmers who need animals processed should be able to schedule appointments. USDA is committed to keeping inspectors in the plants and to keep plants up and running at this time."
- NMPAN keeps a separate database of state-inspected and custom processing facilities and you can search for a facility near you.
- NMPAN is also maintaining its own resources page, mostly geared toward processors, but worth it for producers to check out.
- The COVID situation and an increase in demand for meat (or an increase in supply due to wholesale account closures) has inspired an increasing number of farmers to begin selling direct to consumer online using platforms like Grazecart and/or Barn2Door.
- Community Alliance with Family Farmers is working to connect producers with retailers. Fill out their form here.
- See below for details about our Facebook group for meat industry producers, processors, and retailers who want to connect and help each other in their regions.
- Our colleague and friend, Olivia Tincani, has compiled this excellent list of resources and advice, geared toward farmers/ranchers in California, but still helpful to producers who are elsewhere. It includes a lot of resources for small businesses who are struggling to get federal and state help, as well as private loans and grants.
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