cility construction, number of animal owners and whether either or both types of slaughter can be conducted. Many states have a Direct Farm to Business Guide that gives specifics on the state and/or county laws or reg- ulations on animal welfare, identifica- tion/branding/marking, diseased and dead animal disposal, disease control, animal movement, humane slaughter, exotic animals, labeling, and market- ing.

The meat inspection authority in each state Department of Agriculture can provide the information needed about custom slaughter and on-farm slaugh- ter (Table 1). The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund also gives general state custom and on-farm slaughter regulations (https://www.farmtocon-

Oklahoma and South Carolina do not allow custom slaughter or on-farm slaughter. The number of owners of an animal are limited to 1 in Arizona and Rhode Island, 2 in West Virginia and to 4 in Indiana, Ohio and Mississippi. Wisconsin limits owners to 4 if slaughter is at a custom facility, but

Table.1 List of state inspection program contact information. If the state is not listed, then there is no state meat inspection program, only federal meat inspection. Information source inspection-programs/state-inspection-and-cooperative-agreements/state-officials/state-officials current as of August, 2020.





State Meat Inspection Agency Meat and Poultry Inspection Section AZ Meat & Poultry Inspection Meat, Poultry Egg Safety Branch Inspection and Consumer Services Food Products Inspection Meat Inspection Division Meat and Poultry Inspection

Division of Meat and Poultry Inspection Iowa Meat & Poultry Inspection Bureau Division of Inspection Meat Program

Meat and Poultry Inspection Dairy, Meat & Poultry Inspection Meat Inspection Division

MO MO State Meat Inspection Program MT NC ND OH OK SC SD TX UT VT VA

Meat Inspection

Meat and Poultry Inspection Division State Meat Inspection

Division of Meat Inspection Meat and Poultry Inspection Program

Meat and Poultry Inspection Bureau Meat Inspection Section

Office of Meat & Poultry Services

WV Meat & Poultry Inspection Division WI

WY Consumer Health Services

only 1 owner if the slaughter is on-farm with a mobile slaughter unit. Minnesota allows a maximum of 4 owners for beef and 2 owners for a pig. Other states do not have a limit on the number of owners even though Wyoming requires proof of ownership with a bill of sale, owners in Montana must be named on the transfer document, Ver- mont owners have to sign certification of ownership, Alabama re- quires an animal description and tag number with the owner name and address, and Texas owners must have their own cut sheet and pay for their own processing.

Field-dressing can also be regulated States have more restrictions about on-farm slaughter, also known as field dressing, even if the process occurs under a shelter or in a facility on the farm. Slaughter produces a carcass, edible organs and inedible components like hides and hooves. Field dressing may be only slaughter with transport of the carcass to a facility for pro- cessing and packaging or it may entail the removal of all of the edible and usable portions by the individual. Both types are commonly used by hunters for wildlife. Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey and North Dakota do not allow the producer or owner of animals to field dress so on-farm slaughter is prohibited. Washington producers may field dress and producers or owners in Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming are allowed to field dress, but field dressing must be on the owner’s prop- erty or premises in Wisconsin and Ohio. Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Texas, Utah and Virginia allow owners to slaughter on-farm, but the producer cannot participate. In Arizona, the producer cannot field dress, and the owner can slaughter on farm if licensed as a mobile custom slaughterer. South Dakota allows farm slaughter if it is done by an employee

Division of Food and Recreational Safety

Telephone and/or email 334-240-7210


916-900-5004; 303-477-0076; 302-698-4542; 404-656-3673; 217-622-1678; 317-544-2402;

515-281-5597; 785-250-6561; 785-564-6700; 225-922-1358; 207-287-7512;

651-201-6225; 651-201-6216;; 601-359-1191; 573-522-8429; 406-444-5293;

919-707-3180; 701-328-4762;

614-728-6265; 405-522-6114;

South Carolina Meat-Poultry Inspection Dept. 803-788-8747; Meat Inspection Program Meat Safety Assurance Unit


512-834-6760 ext 2545; 512-834-4556; 801-520-4313; 802-828-2426; 804-786-4569; 304-558-2206;

608-224-4701; 307-777-5533;

of a licensed facility. In California, the live animal sold to the owner must be transported to the owner’s property, a California state custom facility or a USDA facility for slaughter. The owner may slaughter, but the animal producer may not slaughter in Minnesota although the producer may hire a mobile slaughter unit to slaughter on the farm. In West Virginia, the owner may slaughter and deliver to custom exempt facility (for processing) and the producer may not slaughter unless the producer has a license. All other states follow the FSIS guidelines for personal use. Counties and municipalities may override the state regulations and have more restrictive policies regarding on-farm slaughter. As a quirk in laws (Poultry Product Inspection Act) provides that growers and/or processors can slaughter and sell no more than 20,000 poultry in a calendar year by following specific sanitary stan- dards, but without being continuously inspected and meeting other typical FSIS requirements.

As previously stated, goat producers wishing to have any aspect of their operation linked to the production of meat are urged — no, commanded! — to contact their local authorities to learn of the require- ments for slaughter and sale of meat. The risk of foodborne illnesses or transmission of zoonotic diseases is lessened with a food safety plan, proper training of employees, and documentation of farm practices. Table 1 has contact information for the meat inspection agency having oversight of state meat inspection programs in the states hav- ing meat inspection. For states without state meat inspection or for plants having federal meat inspection licenses, then federal guidelines prevail. Contact information for the federal inspection districts is at

(Frank Pinkerton, PhD, is a retired extension goat specialist

living in San Marcos, Texas. Ken McMillin, Phd, is Professor of Meat and Animal Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.)

November 2020 | Goat Rancher 13

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