News Releases

November 24, 2008

Mobile Poultry Slaughter Unit Available for Vermont Farmers

The unit will travel to farms for poultry processing and operates under state inspection

Montpelier, Vt - The Agency of Agriculture, under the direction of the Legislature, has designed and arranged for the construction of a mobile poultry slaughter facility that will soon be available to producers across the state. The mobile unit was designed to provide greater processing facilities to producers and will come directly to the farm.

The first of its kind to be available for farmers to process poultry right on the farm in the U.S., it will help to address, in part, issues that producers face with a the need for additional processing facilities. As the demand for quality, Vermont products increases, producers and farmers need ways to get those products to consumers. Once again, Vermont is on the cutting edge of getting more Vermont products on the shelves and on the table.

"The Legislature worked hard to make the funding available for this important project and worked closely with the Agency of Agriculture to get it designed and constructed. Processing is a serious issue in our state and this mobile unit will help to ensure that agriculture remains viable in Vermont for farmers of all sizes and for new producers looking into starting farming businesses." commented Sara Kittell, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Earlier this year, to also address processing concerns for produce and berry growers, a mobile quick freeze unit was introduced to help quick freeze their products. The quick freeze unit can freeze perishable produce to extend a grower’s season and make those products more available year round to specialty food producers looking for additional sources for local ingredients. Both of these units will allow farmers to plan higher production levels in anticipation of being able to reach new markets.

The unit is approximately 36 feet long. It is estimated that, with a crew of two, the mobile slaughter unit will be able to process 200 chickens a day and 50 turkeys per day. It has its own power supply and will operate under state inspection.

“This mobile slaughter unit will help to meet the increased demands for poultry processing in Vermont. It will also help farmers expand existing markets and develop new markets for Vermont poultry products,” said Governor Douglas.

“I would like to thank the House and Senate Agriculture Committees for making this a priority. The mobile unit will allow farmers to process and inspect meat right on the farm, rather than going through the time and expense to travel to a slaughterhouse,” said Secretary of Agriculture Roger Allbee. “It will support our regional economy and agricultural sector by allowing safe, fresh, reliable local food to be more easily accessed by consumers, including restaurants and institutional buyers.”

In a surprise twist during the unveiling of the unit Friday, Governor Douglas pardoned the turkey on-site for demonstration purposes. Wishbone, donated by the Dunstable Farm and Bothfeld family of Cabot, was slotted to demonstrate how the processing unit works. However, with the holidays approaching Governor Douglas took pity on Wishbone who was being held for the capital offenses of theft of grain and indecent exposure of snood and wattle. Wishbone is headed for a turkey sanctuary in central Vermont.

In Vermont, farmers raise over 51,000 turkeys a year which translate to an economic impact of over 1.8 million dollars. Look for a list of Vermont turkey producers in the upcoming holiday edition of Vermont Harvest in your local newspaper or visit www.vermontagriculture.com.

Source: Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Last Updated at: November 24, 2008 11:10:09