Beef Farming

Asked February 28, 2017, 11:51 AM EST

Hello, We are starting a beef cattle farm and have a couple questions. I've contacted our local municipality and did not get a very confident answers. 1. Will there be extra taxes we have to pay? Should we be charging tax on cows that we sell? 2. Is there special insurance we should carry? We live next to 62 and we are going to be selling the cows before they are butchered. 3. Will we need to get our water tested in order to sell the cows for meat? Does anything else on our farm need tested/inspected? 4. If we would sell meat out of the freezer? What can of worms would that open?

Mercer County Pennsylvania

3 Responses

Dear Beef Producer:

Here are some answers to your questions:

1. No, you would not pay any taxes on your cattle. the only taxes you would be responsible for would be a $1 per head fee to the PA Beef Council for the beef checkoff program and any taxes on profit from the enterprise. The beef checkoff is a produce funded program that promotes beef as well as provides some educational opportunities to producers.

2. Anyone who owns a farm should carry a farm owners policy that would include liability insurance for the farm operation.

3. No, you are not required to test the water that your cattle drink. You would only need to do this if you are doing custom processing on your farm. That is a whole other issue and very few producers also have a processing facility.

4. If you do retail sales of beef, you would need to have the cattle processed at a facility that is licensed to process your meat for retail sale. To sell at your farm you would need to contact the PA Department of Agriculture and go through an inspection.

For further questions, you may want to follow up directly with the Penn State Extension Livestock Educator nearest you. His name is Dustin Heeter and he works out of the Westmoreland County office. His email is This is probably the easiest way to reach him at this time of the year.

Thank you so much Melanie! I appreciate your feedback