The requirements for licensing and inspection of poultry are complex and can be very confusing. There are two separate requirements for selling poultry – Licensing and Inspection.


Some producers may be exempt from one or both of the requirements. The following are answers to some of the commonly asked questions regarding sales of processed poultry. For other questions, please contact MDA at 651-201-6300.

I want to sell my poultry directly to the consumer from my farm – do I need a license or inspection?


No inspection is required for poultry producers who sell less than 1,000 home raised poultry per year directly to the end consumer from their farm and have done their own processing. An approved facility is required for those producers selling over 1,000 birds per year or producers who sell their poultry off the premise of their own farm (ie farmer’s market, roadside stand).


Some people who sell poultry directly from the farm are exempt from State licensing. You are exempt from State licensing if you sell poultry direct from your farm and meet the following requirements:

  • Birds are sold directly to the end consumer.
  • The farm slaughters fewer than 20,000 birds annually,
  • No birds are offered for sale or transportation in interstate commerce (i.e., across state lines),
  • The farmer sells only birds raised on his/her own farm,
  • The poultry products are sold as whole birds or cut up (no smoking or curing permitted)
  • The poultry has been processed in one of two ways:
    • The poultry grower slaughters his/her own birds under sanitary conditions or
    • The poultry have been processed at a USDA or Minnesota “Equal To” facility.
  • The processor must keep slaughter and sales records.
  • The processor has registered with MDA as an on-farm exempt processor, if slaughtering and processing their own birds (PL Exempt).
  • Poultry is properly labeled.


To sell your poultry from your farm it must be labeled with the following:

  • The Farmer’s Name
  • The Name and Address of your farm including the zip code
  • The Product Name
  • “Exempt PL 90-492”


Example Label

I want to sell my chickens at the Farmer’s Market – can I slaughter them myself and sell them at the Farmer’s Market?

Yes, if you have a facility that meets the requirements as outlined in  9 CFR 416.2 through 416.5. These facilities are inspected one or two times per year for construction and sanitation. Home slaughtered birds cannot be sold to grocery stores or other retail outlets other than Farmer’s Markets. To have your facility reviewed, please call MDA at 651-201-6300 or email us at

Do I need a license to sell my birds at the Farmer’s Market?

Farmers selling whole or cut up poultry (no other ingredients added) from their own flock are not required to be licensed per State licensing requirements. However, certain local governments may require licensing to sell products at a Farmer’s Market so it is important to check with them as well. These producers must also register as an on-farm exempt producer with MDA. There is no fee associated with this.

I have my chickens processed at the local butcher shop – can I sell them at the Farmer’s Market?

To sell these chickens, the local butcher would need to be a USDA inspected or Minnesota “Equal To” inspected processing plant. These plants are required to meet more stringent food safety standards than custom exempt plants meet. During USDA or Minnesota “Equal To” inspection, each chicken is inspected for safety and wholesomeness – you can be sure your chickens have been processed to the highest level of food safety. For a list of these plants, contact MDA at 651-201-6300 or USDA Des Moines District Office at 1-800-990-9834.

I want to process birds for my own personal use?

There are no regulatory requirements for an individual to process their own birds for their own personal use

What do I need to do to sell my own poultry to grocery stores, restaurants or other businesses?

These birds must be processed under USDA or Minnesota “Equal To” inspection. Licensing is not required by the State if you are selling only birds you have raised.