Best Practices for Risk Mitigation in Niche Meat Cooperatives

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Agricultural cooperatives allow small and midsized farmers, producers and processors to strategically pool resources and capital to collectively foster opportunity and success. For regional or niche product farmers cooperatives can provide services that allow small and local businesses to thrive. Small-scale meat cooperatives can solve logistical challenges that individual farmers may face, such as transportation to slaughterhouses, quality processing, feed and equipment purchasing, start-up cash flow for new farmers, education and consulting, marketing and sales services, among others.

Each agricultural cooperative is different, however, they face common challenges to growth, and cooperatives of niche meat producers face uniquely specific issues. This report explores best practices for small meat producer cooperatives to improve their value proposition to members and ensure the sustainability of their operating structure through pooling products, building equity and hired management.

This project was conducted in partnership with NC Choices, a project of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems and NC Cooperative Extension focused on promoting and supporting small-scale niche meat producers and processors in North Carolina.

NICHE MEAT COOPERATIVE STRUCTURES:
RISK MITIGATION THROUGH BYLAWS, MEMBER EQUITY INVESTMENT, AND STAKEHOLDER COLLABORATION