supporting small-scale poultry and livestock businesses

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Proceedings available at: Understand the business planning and development issues confronting small-scale livestock and poultry producers. Presented by: Martha Sullins


  • 1. Supporting Small-Scale Poultry &Livestock BusinessesMartha SullinsColorado StateUniversityExtension
  • 2. What does it take to operate asuccessful, small-scale poultry orlivestock operationin Colorado (or anywhere)?Planning!
  • 3. Planning for:1. Animal production & management2. Business growth & developmentPlans and expectations must be tailored to fitwhere producers businesses are locatedmost of our new farmers/ranchers are locatedwithin or near urban areas
  • 4. Supporting new farmers andranchers Colorado Building Farmers Program CO has classroom and field-based learningopportunities in 7 regions of the state
  • 5. Classroom phase -- what we teach Strategic business planning Marketing Recordkeeping & financial analysis Labor, contracts, leasing land & water,equipment, ag credit, and more
  • 6. What participants gain Basic business plan Opportunity to present their business plan atthe end of the program Interaction with experienced producers Network of resource providers within the agcommunity & producers they can contact
  • 7. Field-based phase(experiential learning) Mentorships & Internships - with anexperienced producer (based on individualslearning goals) Exploring coaching groups & mini-grants fortechnical assistance (to help advance someaspect of business planning or development)
  • 8. Planning for a sustainable small-scale livestock/poultry business Environmental stewardship Production practices Safe handling of animals & animal products Business licensing New market opportunities Zoning restrictionsSignificantlyinfluencebusinessgrowth anddevelopment
  • 9. Good Stewardship Leads to BetterBusiness ManagementMinimizing:Animal andmanure odorsDustInsects &predatorsUsing bestmanagementpractices to:Dispose ofdead animalsMitigate runoffLeads to a:CleanerproductionoperationHealthier herdGood neighborrelationships
  • 10. Building a Profitable BusinessInvolvesBuildingCustomersthroughMarketingSafe handlingpracticesBuildingCommunitythroughGood resource& animalstewardshipBuilding BusinessProcessesthroughResearch &compliancewithregulationsandcertificationsthat lead to a sustainable business!Goodneighborrelations
  • 11. 1. Understand new market opportunitiesand how they fit into your businessplan
  • 12. Certification and Marketing Consumers are interested in how livestockare raised, handled & processed Certification may allow you to secure apremium for product or expand market reach Such as specialty food stores and restaurants thatrequire that their animal products be sourcedfrom humanely raised animals How you manage your flock (yourstewardship practices) can influence yourmarketing opportunities
  • 13. Animal Welfare CertificationPrograms Distinguish livestock products as coming fromhumanely treated animals Certified production systems often are moreexpensive than non-certified Be sure to keep in mind the production costs andmarketing benefits of following a certificationprogramAnimalWelfareApprovedUSDAOrganicAmericanHumaneCertifiedFoodAllianceGlobalAnimalPartnershipCertifiedNaturallyGrown
  • 14. Evaluating Certification Programs Make sure program goals align with yoursGoals Understand the certification process & animalscoveredCertification Understand the programs fee structureFees Calculate the time required to achieve andmaintain certificationTime Commitment Estimate how your production costs maychange under certificationProduction Costs
  • 15. Evaluating Certification BenefitsAccess to newmarkets that seekcertified productsPossibility ofcharging higherprices for productsAbility to connectwith customersbased on theirvaluesAccess to marketingmaterials and supportfrom certifyingorganizationCertifier may helpgrower improve safeproduction andhandling techniques
  • 16. Evaluating Certification CostsMore pasture area may be required for each animal enrolled in thecertification program You may need more landChanges to animal health care You may need to remove fromyour program sick animals that you vaccinate or medically treatChanges to animal feeding You may need to use feed fromspecific sources or follow certain ingredient guidelinesChanges to animal housing You may need to build additionalfacilities to allow more space per animalMore detailed record-keeping on animal health and raising Youmay need to allow more time or hire someone to do this
  • 17. 2. Work with your planning and zoningofficials
  • 18. County & Municipal ZoningRegulations-what to consider Larger livestock (including sheep andgoats) typically prohibited in non-agriculturally zoned county &municipal districts Your Homeowners Association mayalso have restrictions on livestock &poultry Many counties & municipalities allowprivate ownership/production of asmall number of sheep, goats &poultry in agricultural districts.However, animal slaughter may beprohibited.Always verify thetypes & numbersof animalslegally allowedon your propertybefore startingyour business
  • 19. Regulations in districts where commerciallivestock production is permitted mayinclude:Commercial oragriculturalpermitrequirementsPermit fee oftenrequiredSize and type ofanimalstructures;location on yourpropertyLimited numberof animalsallowed;pasturespecificationsStandards forodor, noise, dustLimited or noallowableslaughter onpremises
  • 20. Examples from ColoradoLivestock types by districtMunicipality Poultry/fowl PigsSmall ruminant(sheep, goats)Horses CattleFort Collins All types (6 chickens, no roosters)Non ag: R-Rdistrict onlyAg only: notspecifiedNon ag: acre lot min.Non ag: NoGreeley Chickens (roosters permitted) 2 per acre 2 per acre 1 per acre 1 per acreLongmont Non-ag: 4 hens, no roosters Ag only: 5 acre min.Brighton Non-ag: 4 hens, no roosters Ag only: Min 20,000 sf in REAurora Non-ag: Fowl Ag only: Min 4 acre lot for RRDenver8 ducks/chickens total (no roostersor drakes)NoFemale goatsonlyNo NoLakewood Yes, unlimited Non-ag: No Ag only: Min lot size & setbackCastle Rock 6 chickens in all zones No No No NoColoradoSpringsNon-ag: 10 fowl total, no roostersNone innon-ag oragAg only: 5 acre min.; no restrictions on animaldensityPueblo Non-ag: 10 fowl total, no roosters Ag only: Min lot reqsGrand Junction 6 chickensAg: only inRRAg: setbackreqsNon-ag: acre minNon-ag: acre min
  • 21. County & Municipal ZoningRegulations Present your plans earlyyour local planningand zoning board may have ideas to makeyour business more viable or to protect yourresource base Once you are in operation, remember toconsult local officials before making anychanges to your business (to structures or toproducts you sell)
  • 22. Building a Profitable BusinessInvolvesBuildingCustomersthroughMarketingSafe handlingpracticesBuildingCommunitythroughGood resource& animalstewardshipBuilding BusinessProcessesthroughResearch &compliancewithregulationsandcertificationsthat lead to a sustainable business!Goodneighborrelations
  • 23. Resources View the curriculum and other smallfarm/ranch resources at Check produce and meat prices Research market regulations atwww.cofarmtomarket.comThis program was funded by the USDA NationalInstitute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) BeginningFarmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)under award #2009-49400-05871.

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