Getting started with butchering swine and cattle for public customers

Asked May 3, 2019, 12:42 PM EDT

Hello, my husband owns a small deer processing business, handed down from his late grandfather. We have been asked numerous times if we butcher pigs and cows by our hunting customers who also raise their own cattle and swine for personal use. We were told by Grandpa we had to be USDA approved to butcher these for anyone other than our own. We have experience butchering both cows and pigs as we raise and butcher our own, so we are interested in learning how to begin the process (what IS the process?) To be able to offer these services!
We have all of the necessary equipment and even have a cattle run for live animals coming in.
Thank you for any advice, tips, links etc.

Isabella County Michigan

2 Responses

It sounds like you could process the animals under custom exemption. This means that each package is marked "Not for Sale" and can only be used by the owner(s) of the live animal, their families and their non-paying guests. To register with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, contact or

Thank you so much Jeannine! I will shoot them an email here in a bit! I found a few different mentionings of Custom Exempt, but no info on where to go or how to get registered! I even called our local Dept. Of Ag on it and they had no idea on anything butchering wise, and said to search google?! Ha! So I came here instead.
Again, thank you so much!