Pasture poultry, with its quick turn-around and minimal equipment needs can be attractive to small farmers looking to diversify their farming operations. Chris Sramek is a pasture poultry producer and a member of the High Plains Food Co-op (HPFC); in 2013, customer interest in their poultry was so high that the producer members were unable to keep up with the demand; Sramek says they were limited by processing barriers.
“Pasture poultry producers in the area are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to addressing consumer demand for their locally produced chickens because birds processed on-farm do not qualify for USDA inspected status and there are only two USDA facilities available to the public in the entire 600 mile region between Denver and Kansas City that process poultry,” explained Sramek. “For these reasons, sales are limited to direct household consumers and farmers markets while volume markets that make poultry farming more viable are not accessible.”
To address these barriers, Sramek applied for and received a $22,500 NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to plan and construct a Mobile Processing Unit (MPU) to expand processing potential. Their initial design for the MPU was reviewed in 2014, and they received final approval by USDA-FSIS in October 2015. At the time, the USDA-FSIS inspector noted that this was the only federally inspected mobile poultry processing facility in the U.S. The plans developed through the grant can be viewed online at https://projects.sare.org/sare_project/fnc14-978/.
“A USDA poultry meat processing facility now exists in Northwest Kansas,” remarked Sramek. “This project benefits High Plains’ poultry producers by providing a more convenient, efficient, cost effective and easier-to-access option for a federally inspected poultry processing facility in the region.”
For more information on Sramek’s NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant project, visit the SARE project reporting website or contact the NCR-SARE office.
View Chris Sramek's presentation on this project, from the 2016 Farmer's Forum, through NCR-SARE's Youtube playlist. Visit www.youtube.com/NCRSAREvideo from this and other videos.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant: