Mobile slaughterhouse (fwd)

Lawrence F. London, Jr. london at
Fri Jun 16 16:29:30 EDT 2000

Slaughterhouse on wheels ready to roll this year 

11 June 2000

Associated Press 

FRANKFORT -- A fully enclosed slaughterhouse on wheels will be rolling 
through Kentucky this year, offering new opportunities for poultry growers.

Fish, shrimp, rabbits and geese can also be processed in the trailer, which 
was unveiled Tuesday at the Capitol.

The builders, Partners for Family Farms, say the trailer will finally allow 
small family farmers to cope with factory-feeder operations that each produce 
tens of thousands of chickens.

Beginning next month, the University of Kentucky will teach farmers how to 
use the trailer, said William Mikel, agriculture professor at UK.

Then, as soon as the end of the year, the trailer will begin its rounds 
throughout the state.

Slaughtering operations must meet strict USDA regulations, and most small 
farmers can't afford $10,000 worth of USDA-approved equipment, said Sue Weant 
of Partners for Family Farms.

Farmers hope to cash in on America's demand for chicken, although they know 
they can't compete with huge producers like Tyson Farms Inc., which processes 
millions of hens.

Other small farmers are looking to niche markets like organically grown and 
range-fed birds, said Steve Muntz of the Heifer Project, which helped secure 
funding for the mobile slaughterhouse.

"If you do 400 birds a day here, you'll be doing good," Muntz said. "It 
simply provides access for farmers."

The trailer is the culmination of two years' work by Partners for Family 
Farms. It was paid for in part by a grant from the state Agriculture 
Department and matching funds from the Heifer Project and the Southern 
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.

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