Options for Poultry Processing for NC Farmers

November 2, 2017: Exempt Operators List Now Available

As reported previously, the NC Dept. of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Inspection Division (MPID) is granting exemptions that would allow poultry exempt operators to slaughter or process other farmers’ poultry through the end of 2017, provided all other provisions of NC MPID’s exempt poultry slaughter policies are followed. This also means that poultry exempt operators can charge for use of their equipment and services, and that multiple producers can bring their birds to one central location to process.  This is a big help to those exploring processing options at this time as it will greatly aid in efficiency.

Our friends at NC Choices have compiled a list of farm operators who have received from the Director of NCDA&CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division to slaughter or process other farm’s poultry so far. You can find the list here: List of Poultry Operators Granted Short Term Exemption to Process for Other Farmers & MPUs to Rent.

NC Choices will regularly update this list as NC MPID approves more exempt operators. Please note the document also provides contacts for the Mobile Processing Units that are available for rent if producers want to process their own birds on their farm.

The NC Choices team also provides these helpful reminders about labeling requirements for poultry processed under exemption:

  1. All poultry or poultry products produced under exemption must be labeled with the following:
    1. Processor’s name = (in the case of the special exemption whereby someone else can process birds for you, “processor’s name” refers to the owner of the birds)
    2. Address of the processor (in the case of the special exemption, the address refers to the farm address of the owner of the birds)
    3. This statement: “Exempt P.L. 90-492”  (this is known as “Producers/Grower Exemption”)
    4. Safe Handling instructions (see example below) and as shown in Attachment 2 of MPID Notice 6-14
  2. For farmers who are used to processing in an inspected facility, please note that labels used at an inspected facility, such as Foothills Pilot Plant, may not be applied to these products. Those labels bear the Federal Mark of Inspection and other information indicating the birds were inspected by the USDA and are therefore not allowed to be used in processing exempt from federally inspected facilities. Under the on-farm poultry exemption, birds must be processed in a sanitary manner, but there is no USDA inspector checking the birds for disease.
  3. Special claims such as “local,” “free range,” “raised without antibiotics,” are not permitted on labels for exempt poultry products per MPID Notice 6-14 (Revision 2), “Requirements for the Producer/Grower 20,000 Poultry Exemption”.
  4. Printing and Applying Your Label:
    1. If a producer has his or her birds processed under exemption, he or she can print and apply their own labels (see requirements above in #1). Producers can download the Safe Handling Instructions (Attachment 2 of MPID Notice 6-14) to print. If an exempt poultry operator is processing chickens for other producers under the special exemption and they are willing to share their labels, the producer may use the exempt processor’s label and just apply a sticker with their own farm name and address over the processor’s name and address to cover that information. Exempt poultry operators reserve the right to charge for this service.
    2. Be sure a weatherproof label is applied BEFORE the product is placed in a cooler/freezer. Most labels that are used in office settings (for address labels and such that one can buy at Wal-Mart, Staples, etc.) will not stay affixed when exposed to refrigeration temperatures.

October, 27, 2017: New Options for Poultry Processing in NC

With the loss of poultry processing services at the Foothills Pilot Plant in Marion, NC, Dr. Beth Yongue, Director of NCDA&CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division, is granting an exemption for a limited period of time (through 12/31/17) that would allow poultry exempt operators to slaughter or process other farmers’ poultry, provided all other provisions of NCDA&CS’s exempt poultry slaughter policies are followed (see link to MPID Notice 6-14 below). This also means that poultry exempt operators can charge for use of their equipment and services, and that multiple producers can bring their birds to one central location to process.  This is a big help to those exploring processing options at this time as it will greatly aid in efficiency.

What to Do

Do you already process birds on your farm?

If you are a poultry exempt operator who wants make your poultry processing services/equipment available to process for others, here are the steps:

Send Dr.Yongue an email (beth.yongue@ncagr.gov) indicating you are an exempt processor and would like to offer your facility/equipment on farm or stationary MPU on your farm for other poultry owners to process poultry under exemption and/or to provide processing services to other poultry owners who would be otherwise be eligible for exemption, through 12/31/17.

Yongue will review and provide a letter back authorizing you to process. You may also call her office number directly with questions at 919-707-3180

Do you need to find someone to process your poultry?

If you are a farmer interested in bringing your poultry to an exempt operator for slaughter, CFSA and NC Choices will post a running list of producers who have been approved as exempt operators on our websites soon with contact information and respective locations.

Please note: Farmers offering their services or equipment to others will not need to request permission each time they make their facility/equipment on farm available for another farm. Farmers would be well-advised to check with their insurance carrier before offering their facilities for this service.

Farmers using another producer’s poultry processing equipment or services would be responsible for keeping their own records of the number of birds they had processed.

Huge thanks to Dr. Yongue for this offering this time-sensitive exemption for NC farmers!

MPID Notice 6-14 is linked below.

http://www.ncagr.gov/meatpoultry/documents/6-14ProducerGrowerPoultryExemption.pdf

Note: CFSA is investigating whether such a similar accommodation can be made by Clemson’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Dept. for SC producers affected by the closure of Foothills Pilot Plant.

 

Background: October 23, 2017

The poultry processing facility in Marion, NC operated by Cool Hand Meats is closing its doors this week/the week of Oct. 23. This is a huge blow to independent poultry producers across North Carolina, as this was the only USDA-inspected poultry processor in the state.  The news comes at a terrible time when many poultry farmers are ready to bring Thanksgiving turkeys to market.

CFSA is working with NC Choices and the NC Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA) to provide information regarding poultry processing alternatives.  Below are the names and contact information for the USDA-inspected processors nearest to NC farmers.

Williamsburg Meat Packing, 920 Eastland Ave., Kingstree, SC, 843-355-6447

Marksbury Farm Market, 7907 Nicholasville Rd., Lancaster, KY, 859-548-2333

S & S Enterprises, 9010 Richardsville Rd., Bowling Green, KY, 270-777-0240, http://www.aboutssenterprises.com/

NCDA is compiling a list of mobile poultry processing units (MPUs) available for rent across the region.  Under federal and NC law, farmers may slaughter and process their own poultry on their own farms and sell that poultry within the state, under the 1,000 and 20,000 bird exemptions. MPUs are an option for farmers to perform on-farm slaughter, and CFSA will share the full list of licensed MPUs as soon as it is available from NCDA.  At least one MPU is available for rent from a Darby Farms in Union Mill, NC—for more information, contact Daniel Dover at (678) 617-3468.

CFSA will continue to update this page with additional information as it becomes available, and is working with other agencies to identify other options for re-establishing an independent poultry processing facility.

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