I do not want to support a CAFO with my meat purchases. I would like to purchase beef and chicken from a farmer in the Midwest who utilizes a mobile processing unit. Can you provide me with any resources or farms who allow their animals to live out their whole lives on the same farm?
Your question actually contains several things that have to be answered separately, so I hope you won’t mind if I give you some overview of the situation with direct farmer-to-consumer meat sales.
There’s a lot of space in between CAFOs and farmers who use mobile processing plants. In fact, there are currently no licensed mobile processing plants that I’m aware of that operate in Minnesota. There are a handful of mobile poultry processing units that are used by farmers for on-farm processing of chickens and turkeys. The regulations are a little different for poultry; see more below.
There is a Farm Transitions Toolkit that you might find helpful. It is a general overview but contains good background information that can help you know the language and what questions to ask when you talk to lawyers, financial counselors, etc. It also contains a lot of data about costs and benefits of various land use practices that your family might consider as part of the transition.
Downloadable PDF versions are here:
1. Fact sheet from MN Dept. of Revenue on the definition of “Agricultural Production.” It includes floriculture.
2. Information about Schedule F. If you want to run this as an agricultural enterprise and be able to claim the income and the expenses from the venture, you’ll need to file a Schedule F with your income taxes. Schedule F is the farm business reporting form.
Here’s the IRS link to Schedule F and Instructions for Schedule F, plus some other links.