Hurry, preregistration is required by Sept. 1 for the first event

SPRING HILL, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture is coordinating two tours for farmers interested in learning about meat processing and directly marketing local beef and other meat products to consumers.

The “Exploring Meat Processing Opportunities Tours” will provide participants two unique opportunities to visit facilities run by farmers harvesting, processing and direct marketing beef and other meats. Participants will hear about the history of the operations, lessons learned in direct marketing farm fresh meat products and in building and operating a meat processing facility, strategies for success, things current marketers would do differently and more.

With the growth in demand for these products, farmers interested in supplying that demand have found the required meat processing facilities to be in short supply.
“USDA-inspected meat harvest and processing facilities willing to work with farmers interested in direct marketing meat are limited in Tennessee,” says Megan Bruch, marketing specialist with the Center for Profitable Agriculture. “Some producers and entrepreneurs have expressed interest in learning more about developing and operating a meat processing facility of their own.”
Farmers selling meat directly to consumers are required to obtain a Farm-Based Retail Meat Sales Permit from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Regulatory Services. The permit requires that meat sold to consumers be processed under United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection.
“There are many challenges to building and operating a meat processing facility,” according to Hal Pepper, financial analysis specialist with the Center for Profitable Agriculture. “Regulatory requirements, start-up costs, operating costs, plant management, labor availability, supply and inventory management are only a few of the issues that operators need to consider,” he said.
The first tour will be held Sept. 9 and will visit Marksbury Farm in Lancaster, Ky. The tour will depart from two different locations – one in Nashville and one in Knoxville — at 7 a.m. local time and return by 7 p.m. local time.
Preregistration is required by Sept. 1. There is a registration fee of $25 per person. Lunch, a light dinner and transportation from designated meeting places will be provided. Register online at or by phone at 931-486-2777.
The second tour will be an overnight trip on Oct. 11-12 to White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Ga. Participants can meet the bus either in Murfreesboro, Tenn., or Chattanooga, Tenn. Transportation from the meeting places, meals and lodging are included.
Preregistration for the White Oak Pastures tour is required by Sept. 30. There is a registration fee of $50 for a shared hotel room or $90 for single occupancy. Register online at
More information about the tours is available online at the CPA website: or by contacting Megan Bruch at Seats are limited for both tours. Early registration is recommended.
These workshops fulfill a direct marketing workshop requirement for the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program and are made possible through a 2012 Extension Risk Management Education Grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Southern Risk Management Education Center. The workshops are part of a greater Tennessee Value-Added Beef program. More information and resources available through this program can be found online at
The UT Center for Profitable Agriculture is a joint effort of UT Extension and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. The center supports the efforts of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.

Megan L. Bruch, marketing specialist, UT Center for Profitable Agriculture, 931-486-2777,