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Meat Supply Chain tools and suggested readings.

Meat Supply Chain tools and suggested readings.

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CSU research and extension works to advance market opportunities, build connections, and support collective skills development and learning across many segments and scales of Colorado and the Western U.S.’s meat supply chain.


Healthy Farms Healthy Agriculture: for training and source of current information on how to make biosecurity a routine on the farm and anywhere livestock animals are raised.

Animal Disease Information USDA APHIS:

Animal Disease Traceability:

Center for Food Security and Public Health, Iowa State University, Information on bovine diseases and biosecurity:

Colorado Secure Beef Supply Plan:

Colorado Dept of Ag: Animal Health Division:

Reportable Diseases in Colorado:

Production/Finishing Animals for Meat

American GrazingLands Services Bookstore:


Animal Feeding and Nutrition, 11th Edition:

The Art and Science of Grazing: How Grass Farmers Can Create Sustainable Systems for Healthy Animals and Farm Ecosystems by Sarah Flack. Chelsea Green Publishing. 2016.

Happy Pigs Taste Better: A Complete Guide to Organic and Humane Pasture-Based Pork Production by Alice Percy. Chelsea Green Publishing. 2019.

Selecting Cattle for Finishing on Grass by Dr. Allen Williams. Article in Graze, 3/1/2014.

Scaling Grassfed Beef by Dr. Allen Williams. Article in HMI, 4/13/2018

Live Ultrasound for Assessing Beef Carcass Quality videos by Dr. Allen Williams at the 2018 Grassfed Exchange Conference.

Determining Market Readiness of Beef Cattle (Cornell Cooperative Extension) video:

The Biggest Pitfalls to Producing Grassfed Lamb by Janet McNally. Article in Graze, 10/1/2015.

Livestock Handling & Slaughter

Temple Grandin’s Guide to Working with Farm Animals: Safe, Humane Livestock Handling Practices for the Small Farm. Storey Publishing. 2017.

Livestock Transportation Best Practices video from Penn State Extension:

Importance of sending clean cattle to slaughter video from AHDB Beef & Lamb, UK: 

Meat Processing & Fabrication

NMPAN Beginner’s Guide to Local Meat Processing

Four short and easy-to-read fact sheets — free to download — cover:

Beef & Pork Whole Animal Buying Guide, Iowa State University. 2009

This full-color, coil-bound consumer-oriented guide explains buying pork and beef as whole animals (or portions thereof). Includes marketing terms and information on storage and handling, meat inspection and meat weight, and common retail pork and beef cuts. Sturdy, coated card stock meant for regular use. Also downloadable as a pdf.

Meat Weights & Pricing Terms, from Cornell University Meat Suite project

Butchering Beef: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering, by Adam Danforth. 2014. Storey Publishing.

Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering, by Adam Danforth. 2014. Storey Publishing.

Beef Carcass Evaluation video (Cornell Cooperative Extension)

Beef Retail Fabrication video (University of Kentucky)

Pork Retail Fabrication video (University Of Kentucky)


Explaining the 4 Types of Meat Inspection– federal, state, retail exempt, and custom exempt.

Resource Guide to Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry. Cornell University Small Farms Program (in process of being updated, this version is from 2011).

Marketing & Pricing

Meat Suite– a project of Cornell University to help consumers find freezer meat in New York. A good model for connecting consumers to farmers.

Cornell Meat Price & Yield Calculator, a project of Cornell Cooperative Extension. This tool helps you set meat prices for each marketing channel in which you sell, to ensure you reach your PROFIT goals.

Websites/Sales Platforms for selling meat online (not an endorsement of either company, just options to look at)

Other Publications/Online Journals related to niche meat production and marketing

Stockman GrassFarmer

Acres USA

On Pasture


Drovers Cattle Network

High Plains Journal


A growing number of our members are interested in accessing niche markets. Colorado State University’s work on meat supply chains helps to bridge gaps between producers, processors, and markets.

Extension Regional Specialist, Agriculture and Business Management

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