Open a slaughterhouse?

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CalumetFarms

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USDA processors are booked up months and months in advance. And have been for a while. So I am contemplating opening a meat processing facility, something I've considered for a while.
I work in industrial refrigeration by trade so I have extensive knowledge of that side of a facility like this, as well as resources to a lot of things at-cost.
I also have lots of place, and some infrastructure on my farm like three-phase power. And a cattle handling facility.

So what I'd need is more knowledge and expertise on processing beef, pork, etc.
Lots of equipment like saws, trolley, product racks. Prep tables, sinks. Vacuum sealer.

And what hoops are there to jump through for USDA inspection and certification?
 

sstterry

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I may be wrong, but I believe that a local Processor told me that the USDA certification process takes about 2 years. If someone knows for sure, please correct me.
 

FarmerShell

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I have been drawing up blue prints for the live animal and kill floor part of a small processor (8beef, 20gigs a wk) They have a $1.5 million budget.
You better know you really want to do it before you invest like that.

Just do it go big if all else fails blame Biden. 😆
I like the work in a processing plant first.

Do taxidermy on the side... 😆 you can return whole cows to put back in their fields. Or for town folks. 😆 Never mind I'm silly.
 

FarmerShell

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I want a cow stuffed but on hide legs jumping. 😆 Heck yea that would be silly. 😆
 

FarmerShell

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Seriously if you had a 1.5 million budget take the money and run don't look back. 😁🐎

1 million is longer to 500,000 now days. Just think all our kids and grand kids could be millionaire but won't be the same in their time amd ago.
 

Hpacres440p

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Where are you located? We just had a beautiful new USDA plant open here in Central Texas last February. By July they were no longer taking new clients, only those who had previously booked with them. By November they had set a $650 minimum processing fee (even with weight limits of 700-2000 lbs LW). I was lucky enough to be in their “original client” criteria, but they are still 6-8 monout booking. I applaud your idea-more processors are needed. See what your employee availability is, however. That may be your biggest limitation. Not a lot of folks wanting to humanely kill every day (the crazies enjoy non-humane). Processing can make or break a processor-screw up cuts on one too many orders and you’re done.
 

HDRider

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Figure on long lead times for USDA approval. You can do custom in the meantime until you get approval.

Figure on $300 to $500 per square foot to build.

Figure on no trained labor. Meat cutting skills are rare. Even at the top end, the pay is not enough to attract most folks, and obviously not everyone is cut out to kill and cut up animals.

Working in one is good advice. I worked in one for 30 days. Did everything so I could learn. I did not follow through on building one. There is a reason so few small independent processors exist. That said, it is a different time right now, but odds are it is going to revert back to the big four.

You would have to process 60,000 cows to recoup your capital costs on a 10,000 square foot facility.

One for sale - I would survey as many as you could that are on the market. Talk to the owners.
 

ClinchValley86

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Figure on long lead times for USDA approval. You can do custom in the meantime until you get approval.

Figure on $300 to $500 per square foot to build.

Figure on no trained labor. Meat cutting skills are rare. Even at the top end, the pay is not enough to attract most folks, and obviously not everyone is cut out to kill and cut up animals.

Working in one is good advice. I worked in one for 30 days. Did everything so I could learn. I did not follow through on building one. There is a reason so few small independent processors exist. That said, it is a different time right now, but odds are it is going to revert back to the big four.

You would have to process 60,000 cows to recoup your capital costs on a 10,000 square foot facility.

One for sale - I would survey as many as you could that are on the market. Talk to the owners.
Excellent advice.
 

jltrent

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Folks down the way just opened a place. I hear it was built with grant money. Theyve came out the gate too greedy IMO. Doing shite work.

If you do this, focus on quality and not quantity. It will guarantee your success. This place im referring to is not going to last long the way its being ran.
My wife's family is just east of the SH, just below the new $ store. I though about giving them a call, but from your post I maybe to late.
 

sstterry

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My wife's family is just east of the SH, just below the new $ store. I though about giving them a call, but from your post I maybe to late.
Clinchvalley86 gave me the heads up on this place. The guy I use also told me that he has seen their operation and their set-up is all wrong. Plus they have the wrong saws, ect. The guy they hired to cut the meat has only cut "box meat" in the past and not butchered whole animals. Plus, their holding pens are pitiful and animals keep getting out.

I have two spots for December of this year with my guy and he has stopped taking reservations because he already booked into 2023.
 
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