Regulations for Processing Poultry for Sale

Amy Barkley, Livestock Specialist
Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Program

June 1, 2023
Regulations for Processing Poultry for Sale

The processing regulations surrounding poultry for sale can be confusing. There's a lot to know in regard to what birds you can process, where you can process them, and who you can sell them to. This article outlines what you need to know! The need-to-knows of each option are below:

 

1,000 Bird Exemption

Overview:

This exemption allows a farm to process up to 1,000 broiler (meat) chickens or 250 turkeys (where 1 turkey is equivalent to 4 chickens). You can also process spent laying hens, ducks, geese, ratites (ostrich, emu), guineas, small game birds (quail, pheasant, and partridge), and squab. These poultry can be processed on-farm with a processing set-up that can be cleaned and sanitized following best manufacturing practices. The poultry must be raised by you and be sold by you. The exemption is per farm, not per person.

 

Further processing allowed?

No. You cannot grind, marinade, add seasonings to, or cook the poultry you process for sale without a 20C licensed kitchen and associated license. You can however part out the poultry into cuts (legs, breast, things, drums, soup bones, etc.) for sale.

 

Where you can sell your poultry:

You can sell properly labeled processed poultry to the end consumer only. This means that birds can be sold off the farm, whether that be through your own farm stand or farm store, and at farmer's markets.

You CANNOT sell your poultry to establishments like hotels, restaurants, or schools because the product has not been processed in an inspected facility. Your poultry cannot be sold to a farm store that isn't yours for resale, and it can't be sold across state lines.

 


5A Small Enterprise 20,000 Bird Processing Facility

Overview:

These facilities can process up to 20,000 birds a year for other farmers, and the birds they process can be resold. They process broiler chickens, laying hens, turkeys, ducks, geese, ratites (ostrich, emu), guineas, small game birds (quail, pheasant, and partridge), and squab. These facilities may offer additional services to processing, including parting out, wrapping, labeling, weighing.

Unfamiliar with where the closest 5A facility is? Check out this map! https://www.ccelivestock.com/livestock-processors-in-ny-state

 

Further processing allowed?

No, unless that facility has a licensed 20C kitchen and the person working in that kitchen is licensed. If they don't have this license, they cannot grind, marinade, add seasonings to, or cook poultry for sale. They can however part out the poultry into cuts (legs, breast, things, drums, soup bones, etc.) for sale.

 

Where you can sell your poultry:

By processing through a 20A Small Enterprise licensed facility, you can sell properly labeled processed poultry to end consumers and some institutions. However, you cannot sell your poultry across state lines.

That said, there are other types of 5A licensed 20,000 bird facilities that can only process their own poultry for their sale or use and facilities that can process others' poultry, but it can only be consumed by the person who raised the birds. Getting poultry processed at either of these two facilities does not permit resale.

 


USDA Processing Facility

I'm going to mention USDA facilities because they offer the greatest flexibility in terms of sales options. There are no restrictions around who you can sell to if you process through these facilities. However, I'm not familiar with the existence of one of these facilities Upstate at the time this article was written.

 

 

For further reading to explore 1,000 bird processing, food safety, and labeling regulations, check out the Cornell Small Farms' On-Farm Poultry Slaughter Guidelines: https://smallfarms.cornell.edu/resources/guides/on-farm-poultry-slaughter-guidelines/

 

To learn more about processing options, check out pages 74- 84 of the Cornell Small Farms' Guide to Direct Marketing of Livestock and Poultry: https://smallfarms.cornell.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Marketing-Livestock-Guide-2020-updated.pdf




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Join us for a free field day to explore broiler production, processing, and finances. Zack and Annie Metzger will be our hosts. They have run this 200 year-old small diversified farm for 8 years. They process their poultry in a 20C kitchen, where they produce value-added products like sausage and dehydrated chicken feet.

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Join us for a free field day to explore broiler production, processing, and finances. Brett and Sara Budde will be our hosts. They raise slow-growth organic broilers on their diversified farm in large flocks on woodland pasture. Their birds are processed into whole birds, parts, and chicken sausage.

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