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 the MDA Dairy and Meat Inspection Division 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 do their own processing and sell fewer than 1,000 home-raised poultry per year from their farm directly to the end consumer. Producers selling more than 1,000 birds per year, or producers who sell their poultry off the premises of their own farm (e.g. at a farmers' market, roadside stand), may be subject to inspection, though processing facilities do not need pre-approval by the MDA.


Some people who sell poultry directly from the farm are exempt from state licensing. To be exempt from state licensing, poultry must be sold directly from the farm to the end consumer, and the following requirements must be met:

  • 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.
  • Poultry is properly 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”
An example of a label with all the required information.
An example label with all required information.


While the MDA does not license these producers, we do ask them to register with the Department as on-farm exempt producers. There is no fee associated with this, and registered producers receive a certificate from the MDA.

I want to sell my chickens at the farmers' market – can I slaughter them myself and sell them at the farmers' market?

Yes, if you have a facility that meets the requirements as outlined in 9 CFR 416.2 - 416.5. These facilities may be subject to inspection by the MDA to ensure proper construction and sanitation. Home-slaughtered birds cannot be sold to grocery stores or other retail outlets other than farmers' markets.

Do I need a license to sell my birds at the farmers' 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 farmers' market so it is important to check with them as well. The MDA asks these producers to register with the Department as on-farm exempt producers. There is no fee associated with this, and registered producers receive a certificate from the MDA.

I have my chickens processed at the local butcher shop – can I sell them at the farmers' market?

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

I want to process birds for my own personal use – what are the regulatory requirements to do this?

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 only selling birds you have raised.