Tar River Poultry Initiative, LLC

What in the world is a Tar River Poultry Initiative?
We are a group of four women farmers and homesteaders in Franklin County, North Carolina, that joined together as the Tar River Poultry Initiative, LLC in an effort to bring a mobile poultry processing unit to Franklin and surrounding counties.
Tar River Poultry Initiative - say that 10 times fast! We call ourselves TRiP for short.
The mobile poultry processing unit will target local small farm poultry producers.  It will consist of a bumper-pull trailer set up with key equipment needed to process 50 - 200 chickens/day.
Mobile Poultry Processing Unit = MPPU
How did TRiP get started?

In the fall of 2016, a local Women in Agriculture group noticed we were facing similar challenges in regards to poultry processing:

  1. We didn't process enough poultry per year to justify the overhead cost of purchasing our own equipment. 
  2. We were using homemade or second-hand makeshift equipment to slaughter and butcher poultry which was negatively affecting our efficiency and food safety efforts. 
Since we are passionate about sustainability and providing humanely processed, safe, and wholesome fresh poultry for our friends and family, we began working together on a grant application to make our farms more productive and profitable. Needless to say, we were very excited when we were selected as an Agricultural Reinvestment Fund grant recipient for 2017! This grant was awarded by RAFI (Rural Advancement Foundation International – USA) with funds provided by the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.

Why is there a need for a MPPU?
A MPPU will allow farmers or homesteaders to process their own birds on their own property with their own labor. By using a MPPU, a small poultry producer will save time and money spent traveling to an inspected processing facility hundreds of miles from their farm. The farmer will also be able to provide a better product by personally overseeing the humane handling, slaughter and packaging of their own birds.  The MPPU may also open up new markets for our small farmers with the potential to sell their product directly to institutions and restaurants in accordance with NC state laws and regulations.
What equipment will be included on the MPPU?
We will start with the basic equipment mounted and loaded on a trailer which can be towed by any full sized pickup truck.  
Basic equipment: Kill station, scalder, plucker, evisceration station, chill tanks.
We also have a “wishlist” of equipment and supplies including packaging, labeling, and value added options. We hope to add these type of tools as we grow our business to help the user maximize the processing of their products.  

What do I need to supply?
Besides your own birds, there will be some things you will have to supply for your processing needs such as sharp knives, ice, hook-up to a potable water supply, coolers, packaging supplies, waste disposal, cleanup and labor.  
When will it be ready?
This is a fledgling business and it will take a bit of time to get the MPPU up and running. Our hope is to have it operational by early fall 2017.  
I've never processed chickens before, but I'm interested. Do I need experience?
No, you won't need experience. Before you can use the equipment, there will be a required training workshop where you can learn proper and safe setup, use, breakdown and cleanup of the equipment; as well as humane processing procedures and safe handling and packaging of the end product.  There will be an initial fee for this training.  
Birds processed during the training workshops will to go towards local hunger relief efforts in our community.  
Wisdom for Life and First Fruits Farm is one of the founding members!
Our plan is for TRiP to not only to provide a service to local small farmers but to also serve God and our community in Franklin and surrounding counties.
How can I use the MPPU?
After each farm has completed the workshop, they will be eligible to lease the unit out for 2-4 days (depending on their needs and location). We are still working out the details of the rental.  We will soon established a rental rate, which will likely be based on both the number of days used and number of chickens to be processed.  
Who are the founding members?
General Manager: Julie Gupton
Members: Patricia Hill, Tay Brown, and Analee Thornburg
How can I become part of the TRiP?
If you are interested in becoming a part of the Tar River Poultry Initiative, LLC, we would love to add you to our mailing list of interested small farms and consumers.  Please contact us by emailing your name, contact info and a brief description of what your processing needs may be (number of chickens, ducks or turkeys you will need to process with this unit at one time and how many times a year you may need the unit) to TarRiverPoultry@gmail.com
You can also find us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TarRiverPoultry
Thank you for your interest and we look forward to hearing about your small farm and how we can help you out with your poultry processing needs.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.


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