Georgia Small Scale Meat Processing
Small sustainable farmers do not have the ability to add potentially lucrative revenue streams to their farming operations and consumers have limited access to meat that has been grown on small, local family farms. In the case of poultry, any farmer looking to generate a viable income from their pastured poultry operations have to take their birds out of state, significantly increasing their costs of production. And while there are a few processing options for cattle, goat and sheep producers, they are very limited.
Kerry Dunaway of Greenway Farms in Roberta Georgia and Brennan Washington of Phoenix Gardens in Lawrenceville, Georgia have observed this problem for many years. They have taken some excellent work done by the University of Georgia and Georgia Organics and have been working to make a small scale meat processing a reality. And they are very close to making this project happen.
Working closely with the Georgia Department of Agriculture and with input from various stakeholders across the state, we are ready to take this plant from paper to reality. A 20 acre parcel of land has been identified in Middle Georgia as the future home of the plant and we are preparing to make an offer on it. A team of people are currently going through the process of working through the permitting, siting, legal and land acquisition issues necessary for building the plant.
The estimated cost to build this plant will be about $3.5 million dollars. While that is a lot of money, we already have a viable plan of how to raise this capital. But we need your help!
We are seeking to raise $20,000 in seed money to actually launch the startup process. These funds will be used to secure a binder on the land and to help pay for some startup legal and organizing expenses as we get ready for the larger tasks of bringing the plant online including creating a financing plan, having the plant designed and securing all of the proper permits.
If you love local food and local farmers, please give whatever you can. Not only will you help to make this badly needed resource a reality, you will be showing potential funding sources that Georgians are serious about purchasing meat from local farmers.
Ms. Grandin is an American professor of animal science at Colorado State University, a best-selling author, an autistic activist, and a consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. I'm really looking forward to working with her.
We still need to raise 85% of our goal. Please help us today.
Thanks to Asa and Shannon for their donations yesterday which kept our consecutive day streak alive.
And thanks to all of you who have donated to date...WE ARE NOW AT 10% OF OUR GOAL.
Let's keep up the momentum. Heading to Middle Georgia to a Department of Agriculture Poultry Seminar. Will also meet with some people involved in this project to plan our next steps.
Sorry for the late update. We kept our our consecutive donation day streak alive with a donation on Sunday. Thanks to Dane for making a donation to our project.
Had a few donations today which I will post tomorrow but stay tuned for a project update
Brennan, what have you heard from the 4 counties you mentioned and have you considered Monroe country? Easy access to I-75. And BTW what happened with Crawford Cty?
Hi Crystal Originally we thought we were going to site the plant in Crawford County but some bugs have popped up. We currently have interest from 4 counties and will be meeting with them before the end of June. If you have a county in mind we should talk to, please let me know. Brennan
What county are you planning on locating this plant?
Hi Jack We have had two feasibility studies done and have looked at rates currently being charged in other states in order to develop our pricing. While we haven't settled on pricing yet, we do plan to stay withing those price parameters. Also, in addition to processing animals for farmers, we are also working on developing a branded meat line that will feature Georgia grown and process pasture raised animals that will be branded under the Georgia Grown label. And we also have some plans for value-added products and agritourism events that will generate additional revenue streams.
At $3.5MM, what kind of rates will have to be charged to keep the plant profitable (or if a non-profit, kept open)?
Hi Terri: Thank you for your question. Yes we do plan to make sure we are using an approved humane slaughter process in our plant. Our farm is AWA approved and I will be checking with them for standards. And we have been fortunate enough to have someone reach out to Temple Grandin on our behalf and she is interested in working with us. The producers who will patronize our plant use sustainable and humane practices to raise their animals. I cannot say that they will be certified organic as it is very hard to source organic feed for animals in our state. We hope to see this change when Coyote Creek opens their feed mill this year. Thanks!
Are the farms involved raising their beef, chickens, etc., organically and will this plant carry on the humane organic process?
Hi Mike: The processing facilities at White Oak Pastures only processes animals raised by White Oak Pastures. Not sure about the UGA plant but if it operates under the same guidelines like the one at Fort Valley, they may be prohibited from opening a commercial processing operation. Thanks Brennan
What is White Oak Pastures? What about the almost unused facility at UGA ?