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Network helps farmers and ranchers take advantage of local and niche meats demand

As the market for local and other niche meats from smaller farms continues to grow steadily around the country, small to mid-sized farmers and ranchers are increasingly finding a bottleneck in appropriate meat processing infrastructure – slaughterhouses and further processors. Unlike many basic foods (e.g., fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans), you can’t market meat without a proper place to have it processed.

The Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN) is a national network of professionals in cooperative extension, state departments of agriculture, and other organizations who work to expand the processing bottleneck by helping small-scale meat processors better expand, upgrade, and/or better coordinate with producers.

NMPAN is part of eXtension, so many of the links on the site will link to eXtension pages.

How Does NMPAN Work?
NMPAN works at two levels:

  • By bringing together people who work with niche processors (such as cooperative extension, state department of agriculture, and ag non-profits) to share resources and ideas and collaborate on issues of national importance.
  • By helping processors, producers, buyers, and others find help in their state or region.
    NMPAN networks via the Internet (through webinars, interactive maps, resource database, and email) and over the phone (e.g., teleconferences, direct assistance).

What Are Niche Meats? 
Raised locally, certified organic, grass-fed, no hormones or antibiotics, certified humane—we use “niche” very broadly to refer to many types of market differentiation. To best meet the needs of small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers, we only work with small to mid-sized meat processors.

How to get involved?

Check out the NMPAN website to join the mailing list; sign up for NMPAN updates, including announcements of webinars and new meat processing resources by clicking on "sign up" link.


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