Direct marketing and value-added products are two of the best strategies farmers can employ to improve net profitability. Value-added products can open new markets, enhance the public's appreciation for the farm, and extend the marketing season.

Value-added processing offers farmers the potential to capture a larger share of the food dollar. The farmer's share of the consumer's food shopping dollars decreased from 46 percent in 1913 to just fewer than 20 percent in 2006, according to the USDA Economic Research Service. Why? Consumers buy more "ready-to-eat" or "ready-to-cook" food while farmers generally produce and market raw agricultural commodities.

Value-added products are defined by USDA as having:

  • A change in the physical state or form of the product (such as milling wheat into flour or making strawberries into jam).
  • The production of a product in a manner that enhances its value (such as organically produced products).
  • The physical segregation of an agricultural commodity or product in a manner that results in the enhancement of the value of that commodity or product (such as an identity-preserved marketing system).

Unfortunately, there is no simple blueprint to follow that applies to everyone for value-added. The resources listed on this site can assist you in the process of identifying, selecting, managing, monitoring, and growing a value-added enterprise.

Explore the value-added sections below on Meats and Poultry, Dairy, Acidified Foods, and Cottage Industry.

Acidified Foods

Website

  • A Step-By-Step Guide to On-Farm Processing of Acidified Foods
    Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC)

    SMADC ‘Step by Step Online Guide’ has everything you need to get started, complete with sample forms and important contact information to help you along the way to becoming a licensed on-farm processor for acidified foods.
     
  • Agencies and Jurisdictions
    Food Processing in Maryland module

    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center
     
  • Rules for Specific Foods
    Food Processing in Maryland module
    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center
     
  • Standards and Licensing
    Food Processing in Maryland module
    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center
     
  • Food Processing Resource Directory (pdf)
    Ginger S. Myers, Extension Marketing Specialist.
    This directory is a great resource for all your Value-Added Processing needs. Resources include listings of agencies, commercial supplies, display manufacturers, equipment, food brokers, farmer’s market supplies, packaging materials, trade associations, and many others.

Cottage Food Industry

Publications

Websites

  • Cottage Food Business Law
    Food Processing in Maryland
    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center
    Explore the possibilities of operating a home-based or home food Processing company.
     
  • Agencies and Jurisdictions
    Food Processing in Maryland module

    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center
     
  • Rules for Specific Foods
    Food Processing in Maryland module
    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center
     
  • Standards and Licensing
    Food Processing in Maryland module
    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center

Dairy

Publications

  • The Small Dairy Resource Book (pdf)
    Project Coordinator Vicki H. Dunaway
    The Hometown Creamery Revival
    Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program of USDA
    Publication topics include Cheesemaking, Ice Cream, Dairy Processing, Dairy Animals, Business and Marketing, Butter, Other Dairy Foods, Food Safety, Feed, and Grazing. 

Websites

  • Agencies and Jurisdictions
    Food Processing in Maryland module

    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center
     
  • Code of Federal Regulations (Annual Edition)
    The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) annual edition is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation. The 50 subject matter titles contain one or more individual volumes, which are updated once each calendar year, on a staggered basis.
     
  • Construction of Dairy Equipment
    3-A Sanitary Standards, Inc. (3-A SSI)
    It is an independent, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to advancing hygienic equipment design for the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries. 3-A SSI represents the interests of three stakeholder groups with a common commitment to promoting food safety and public health—regulatory sanitarians, equipment fabricators, and processors.
     
  • Dairy Farmers of America
    Is a milk marketing cooperative and dairy foods processor dedicated to delivering value to members through secure markets, competitive pricing, and increasing value throughout the entire dairy chain.
     
  • Dairy Goats (December 2018)
    Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC)
    Malinda Geisle
     
  • Center for Milk and Dairy Product Safety
    Maryland Department of Health
    State of Maryland milk program serves as the basis for ensuring to the public, safe and healthy milk and dairy products supply. The Center for Milk Control has the sole responsibility to ensure that all milk and milk products and frozen desserts are produced, processed, and distributed in compliance with all applicable State and Federal laws and regulations.
     
  • Home Dairy
    Backyard Goats
    This site has a treasure trove of articles on dairy goats that includes: dairy goat herd improvement, business management, and making goat's milk into value-added products.
     
  • Milk For Manufacturing Purposes and its Production and Processing
    Recommended requirements, Effective July 21, 2011
    Agricultural Marketing Service
    United States Department of Agriculture
     
  • Rules for Specific Foods
    Food Processing in Maryland module
    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center
     
  • Standards and Licensing
    Food Processing in Maryland module
    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center

Meats and Poultry

Publications/Documents

Websites

  • Agencies and Jurisdictions
    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center
    Food Processing in Maryland module
     
  • State Help/Find a Processor
    Looking for a USDA inspected processor for red meat or poultry? See the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) database here. You can search by plant name, state, type of processing, and other parameters. If you are looking for a state inspected or a custom exempt plant, reach out to your state department of agriculture for a list of licensees.
     
  • How to Apply for the Maryland On-Farm Processor Licence for Farm-Raised Meats
    Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC)
     
  • Meat Charts-Beef, Pork, Lamb, Goat
    The Virtual Weber Bullet
    Downloadable meat charts for beef, pork, lamb, and goat are a great resource to help you understand the cut of meat located on the animal.
     
  • Marketing Farm-Raised Meats in Maryland Module
    Are you a small livestock farmer in Maryland wanting to capitalize on your urban location and strong demand for locally produced meats? If so, the Marketing Farm-Raised Meats in Maryland Module was created specifically for you. This module delivers educational materials developed for several training sessions by educators and professionals who are highly knowledgeable and who are presently engaged in Farm-to-Table production and marketing
     
  • Rules for Specific Foods
    Food Processing in Maryland module
    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center
     
  • Standards and Licensing
    Food Processing in Maryland module
    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center

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