Foothills Pilot Plant, the first community-administered, non-profit meat processing facility in the US, opens for fully-inspected poultry and rabbit processing on Sunday, Jan. 15. A collaborative effort of state and local governments, small-scale meat animal producers and grant-making agencies, this facility is operated under joint USDA/FDA authority to provide regional growers with the opportunity to market their meat products to a broader consumer base. Products processed at this facility can be transported and sold across state lines. Foothills Pilot Plant is the only USDA-inspected facility serving independent poultry growers in the Southern Appalachian region.
Additionally, the plant is working to become certified “Animal Welfare Approved,” demonstrating a commitment to low-stress, humane handling of the food animals in their care. Project leaders have spent five years bringing this resource to the community; plant oversight is provided by the McDowell County Economic Development Association (MEDA) and an Advisory Board comprised of professionals with related expertise.
Chickens, turkeys, rabbits and other specialty fowl are processed on a fee-for-service basis into retail-ready, custom-labeled packages according to the clients’ needs. The facility is operated as a processing service to independent growers in the region and does not take possession of animals or meat products.
In addition to its processing services, Foothills Pilot Plant will work with the producers it serves to develop best practices for small-scale meat animal production and share this information with the community. This facility is an integral step in building resilient, sustainable local food systems.
Contact plant manager Dr. Paljinder Manhiani with questions or to schedule processing at 803-2717 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.Read the full article
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