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New Slaughterhouses to Open in Maine

17 December 2014

US - Two poultry processing plants and a slaughterhouse dedicated to red meat – are to open in Maine in the next few months.

According to Portland Press Herald, Maine producers of livestock and poultry are concerned about eh problems they have  to get their animals slaughtered and processed because of the lack of slaughter facilities in the state.

Now farmers believe the new plants are a major step in the quest to grow Maine’s food economy both in and out of the state.

A 2014 survey by the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service found that nearly 80 per cent of Maine consumers say they want to buy local, but local meats are not always readily available or at the right price points to drive sales.

Growing the number of federally inspected facilities in the state could increase supply and allow more Maine meat to be sold across state lines.

"On a national scale probably nobody else would notice," said Tori Jackson, associate professor with the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension and the author of a 2013 report stressing the need for more slaughterhouses.

"But for us, it is a really big deal."

Today, there are five USDA-inspected slaughterhouses in Maine, but none for poultry. Just one of seven state-inspected facilities processes poultry.

A new plant in Gardiner, a conventional poultry processing business where the birds will be killed and processed for sale, is expected to open on 1 January, according to owner and builder Bill Lovely.

He will lease the building to Ryan Wilson and Gina Simmons of Common Wealth Poultry, who are working in collaboration with one of Maine’s oldest and biggest poultry farmers, John Barnstein of Maine-ly Poultry in Warren. The birds processed there will be barn-raised and grain-fed – local, but not organic.

By 1 February, Mr Lovely also hopes to have a slaughterhouse geared toward beef open to serve Northeast Meats, his Gardiner facility where red meat is packed for sale. That slaughterhouse also would kill lambs, sheep and pigs.

Tide Mill Organic Farm is planning a third facility, slated to open 1 March. But Carly DelSignore, who runs the family farm in Edmunds with her husband, Aaron Bell, are still raising money for the project.

Tide Mill started an Indiegogo campaign last week to raise $25,000 of the $100,000 it needs to finish the building and upgrade equipment (in three days they had raised over $6,500). 

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