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Meat Processing Webinars Help Answer Livestock Farmers’ Questions

cce livestock work team logoThe COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on both livestock producers and processors, neither of whom could keep up with the demand for local meat. As a result, the Cornell Small Farms Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Livestock Program Work Team (PWT) offered a series of webinars to address some of the most common questions we were hearing from farmers and others.

The Livestock PWT is a network of CCE educators and Cornell Animal Science faculty working collaboratively to support the success of the livestock industry in NYS. This event series is part of a larger partnership between the Cornell Small Farms Program and CCE livestock educators to support livestock producers in the state by developing collaborative resources like the  on livestock management, and the .

Also, the Cornell Small Farms Program contributed a paper on the livestock industry as part of a series of nine papers on the  by experts from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Cornell University.

Recordings of the meat processing webinar series are available below.


Starting a Red Meat Slaughterhouse in NYS

Recorded on December 9, 2020, this webinar was targeted to anyone considering opening a slaughterhouse in NY, and covered the essential elements of this decision, as well as an in-depth example of one farmer who did it successfully.

The webinar featured Marty Broccoli of CCE Oneida County, who provides technical assistance to help new slaughterhouses get started in NYS, and Keith Schrader, a farmer who opened a USDA slaughterhouse, Schrader Farms, in Romulus, NY.

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Creative Slaughterhouse Workarounds

Recorded on January 6, 2021, this webinar was aimed at livestock farmers feeling panicked by their inability to secure dates with their regular meat processors, with the intention of helping them regain a sense of control.

The speakers included  Heather Sandford, founding farmer and butcher at The Piggery, and Shannon Hayes, owner/operator of Sap Bush Hollow Farm and Cafe. They covered topics including alternate processing solutions — like getting animals slaughtered by one facility and cut/wrapped by another — finding opportunity in the midst of the chaos, and what it looks like to have Plans B & C for when your livestock processing Plan A doesn’t work out.

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Meat Cutting in a Commercial Kitchen

Recorded on March 31, 2021, this webinar focused on 20-C licenses and selling cuts of meat from your farm.

Based on interest from attendees of the “Creative Slaughterhouse Workarounds” webinar, the webinar focused on the idea of getting animals killed by a USDA facility and then bringing the carcass back to a 20-C for further processing into retail cuts or value-added products. Heather Sandford, founding farmer and butcher at The Piggery, and Cory Skier, Supervisor in the Food Safety and Inspection Division at the NYS Dept. of Ag and Markets, covered the farmer and regulatory perspectives of what’s involved in processing your animals under a state-issued 20-C license.

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Erica Frenay

Erica Frenay

Erica has had several different roles with the Small Farms Program since she began working there in 2005. In 2006 she co-founded the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project, and launched the first online course in 2007. For 10 years she facilitated and organized the Beginning Farmer Learning Network, a professional development network for service providers in the Northeast who support beginning farmers. She has shepherded the development, publishing, and updating of several key SFP publications, like the Guide to Farming in NYS, the On-Farm Poultry Processing Guide, and the Guide to Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry. As the SFP’s menu of online courses surpassed 20, she shifted her role primarily to managing these courses, providing ongoing training to instructors, and ensuring a high quality experience for students.
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