Food processing for local markets can be challenging for a small-scale business. Learn about a variety of methods and available infrastructure for processors in the subtopics below.

Animal Processing

Guide on building an on-farm poultry processing facility

Building an On-Farm Poultry Processing Facility

Plan and construct a mobile poultry processing unit or stationary facility for on-farm processing.Download File (3.38 MB)

Guide to designing a small red meat plant

Guide to Designing a Small Red Meat Plant

Learn how to construct, expand or upgrade a locker-type meat plant.Download File (4.60 MB)

Handbook for Small-Scale Poultry Producer-Processors

Apply for a license to process poultry using a Mobile Poultry Processing Unit (MPPU). Download File (1.83 MB)

Iowa Meat Processors’ Resource Guidebook

A guide to building, upgrading or expanding a small meat processing facility in Iowa.Download File (1.37 MB)

Farm and Food Management safety guide cover

Mobile Poultry Processing Unit Farm and Food Safety Management Guide

Food safety information for mobile poultry processing units or stationary on-farm facilities.Download File (3.00 MB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (an community of practice)

Slaughter and Meat Processing (reports and resources by Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)  

Harvest Handling

screenshot from the winter production, storage and sales website

Expanding Winter Harvest and Sales for New England Vegetable Crops

This University of Massachusetts website offers resources on winter vegetable crop storage, marketing and low-cost season extension through structures such as hoop houses and low tunnels. 

guide on harvesting crop for market

Harvesting Crops for Market

This plain language guide has information on when to harvest vegetables, how to prepare produce for harvest, and safe handling of produce after harvest.Download File (1.42 MB)

video series on effcient and safe food handling processes

Video Series: Efficient and Safe Food Handling Processes

Low-cost techniques that help farms reduce labor needs and expenses during harvest, wash and pack. 

wholesale package resource guide

Wholesale Packing Resource Guide

This plain language guide is for farmers and ranchers interested in selling to supermarkets, produce distributors, restaurants and institutions.Download File (816.09 kB)

download A Farmer's Guide to Crop Quality for Wholesale Outlets in pdf format

A Farmer's Guide to Crop Quality for Wholesale Outlets

A simple guide to crop quality focused on tomatoes, cucurbits and greens, with photos of good and poor crop quality as well as best practices for post-harvest handling.Download File (3.26 MB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Post-Harvest Handling Decision Tool (Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture)

Postharvest Technology Center (University of California, Davis)

Value-Added Processing

Agripreneur Training Program Materials cover

Agripreneur Training Program Materials

Materials developed to train Latino immigrants interested in starting a free-range poultry business. Incluye el currículo en español.Download File (57.39 MB)


Direct Marketing for Farmers and Ranchers

The Imperial Stock Ranch increased profits by using direct, value-added marketing of wool products.

Cover image of dairy grazing publication

Growing the Pasture-Grazed Dairy Sector in Wisconsin

This report and video summarize results of comprehensive research on pasture-based dairy products.Download File (2.54 MB)

Oil Production Fact Sheets

Safe and Profitable Oil Production Fact Sheets

Information on edible oil production for small-scale producers. 

Label Guide Cover

Cottage Food Success: A Labeling Guide and Toolkit for Creating Canned Food Products that Sell

Ideas and step-by-step instructions to increase sales of canned products made in your home kitchen under your state’s cottage food law.Download File (720.75 kB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Shared-Use Kitchen Planning Toolkit (a guide from Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture)

Value-added agriculture centers (a list of centers around the country by the Ag Marketing Resource Center)

Value-added and Processing (a collection of ATTRA publications)