- Animals: poultry
- Animal Production: feed formulation, free-range, feed rations, preventive practices, grazing - rotational, stocking rate
- Crop Production: food product quality/safety
- Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, networking, workshop
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, risk management, value added
- Production Systems: holistic management
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, partnerships, sustainability measures
There is a tremendous demand in Maryland for poultry produced under sustainable and environmentally appropriate management systems such as free-range and small flock production. There are over 100 small poultry flocks that process and sell birds in Central Maryland alone. In 2010, the Maryland Department of Agriculture and Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene implemented a training course for on-farm processing of poultry. While this process does allow for retail sale of on-farm processed poultry now, it requires (1) every farm to purchase its own set of processing equipment at the cost of $3,500-$5,000 (2) requires each farmer to develop a composting or treatment system for processing wastes, (3) provides for limited traceability of product. The project ‘s primary goal is to provide processing and marketing services to a least 10-12 approved and licensed, sustainable poultry producing farms in Maryland during the first full year of operation and expanding to 15 farms by a second year.
Project objectives from proposal:
Tom Reynolds, a farmer in Reisterstown, Maryland, operates a licensed poultry processing facility on his farm, on a part-time basis. He currently is processing poultry once a month and has the capacity to process 2600 bird a day. He handles all the labor, processing, labeling, chilling, and disposal of processing waste for six other licensed poultry producers in Central Maryland. Tom would like to expand the use of his facility.
A team of farmers- Tom Reynolds, Tom Albright, and Steve Weber- with assistance from University of Maryland Extension Marketing Specialist, Ginger Myers, will form a poultry processing and marketing group, that will provide its poultry-producing members with a safe, sanitary, environmentally sound, legal and convenient means of processing. The group will also be able to make group purchases of chicks, marketing materials, and possibly feed. In addition to individual farm sales, members could aggregate their birds to supply larger volume sales such as to schools, hospital, and buying clubs. Processing time will be available to non-members when the processing schedule permits.
This project will form a Poultry-Processing and Marketing Group , open for membership to any licensed and trained poultry producer in Maryland to:
1. Provide a source of chicks from an approved hatchery at group purchasing prices.
2. Assist all members in writing their HACCAP plan.
3. Provide a monthly processing option with possible expansion to 2x per month.
4. Seek out cost savings for group purchases of supplies and feed.
5. Develop a group branded marketing outlet, while still allowing producers to market their birds under their farm name.
6. Provide marketing assistance by serving as agent for volume sales.
7. Provide training and information on best management sustainable poultry production, whole farm management techniques, bio-security practices, and safe food handling procedures.
The project ‘s primary goal is to provide processing and marketing services to a least 10-12 approved and licensed, sustainable poultry producing farms in Maryland during the first full year of operation and expanding to 15 farms by a second year.