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 targets local small farm poultry producers. It consists of a bumper-pull trailer set up with key equipment needed to process up to 200 chickens per day.
Mobile Poultry Processing Unit = MPPU
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. RAFI assists entrepreneurial and innovative farmers and collaborative groups in developing new sources of agriculture income. Additionally, TRiP was selected as the 2017 Leonard-Mobley Small Farm Grant recipient. This Fund supports small farms to aid their development and long-term sustainability.
A MPPU allows 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 state and federal laws.
What are the rental rates?
-$99.00 for Half-day (drop-off by 8 am and pick-up by 1 pm same day)
-$149.00 for Full-day (drop-off by 8 am and pick-up by 6 pm same day)
-Plus a delivery fee of $2.50 per mile (one-way distance from base location).
-Plus a refundable deposit of $100. All or part of this amount will be returned after MPPU has been inspected to make sure all equipment has been suitably cleaned and returned in good condition.
What equipment is included with the MPPU rental?
The rental fee includes basic equipment mounted and loaded on a trailer towed by TRiP to your farm. Basic equipment includes a kill station, scalder, plucker, evisceration station, stainless steel tables, and standard electric, water, and propane connections. We have plans to add equipment for packaging, labeling, and value added options in the future. We hope to add these tools as we grow our business to help users maximize 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, LP gas, coolers, packaging supplies, waste disposal, cleanup and labor.
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.
Who are the founding members?
(left to right) Analee Thornburg, Patricia Hill, Tay Brown, and Julie Gupton (General Manager)
How can I become part of 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 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 with your poultry processing needs.
I can do all things through him who strengthens