A preliminary study released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows gaps in the availability of slaughter facilities to small meat and poultry producers. The study by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the first attempt to identify where a shortage of facilities exists to bring meat and poultry from local producers to market.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said this study is part of the department’s "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food," which is addressing shortcomings in the food supply chain on behalf of producers and consumers. Data creates a county-by-county view of the continental U.S., indicating concentrations of small farms raising cattle, hogs and pigs, and chicken, and the location of nearby slaughter facilities. Small producers are identified in the study as having annual sales of $250,000 or less.