This week, Animal Welfare Approved and Wild Turkey Farms hosted a poultry processing workshop to train potential users of the new mobile processing unit (MPU). Funded by a Good Husbandry Grant and built by Wild Turkey Farms, this plant-on-wheels can travel to area farms for on-farm processing – minimizing transport stress on the animals and providing farmers an economical processing alternative (rental rates start at $45/day). Techniques on humane slaughter were demonstrated as well as cervical dislocation for emergency euthanasia. Attendees learned the importance of humane handling and catching to ensuring product quality and took home some good tips on effective product presentation. Many farmers raising birds for meat operate under the 1,000 bird exemption, meaning that they are not required to have an inspector on-site at the time of processing. However food safety is even more important for the small farmer than it is for a large plant and sanitation, biosecurity and recordkeeping were emphasized as important tools to ensure a safe product for the consumer. A very knowledgeable and gracious staff from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, including Don Delozier, State Director for the NCDA&CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division and Compliance Officer Melanie Pollard, presented on the relevant regulations for on-farm processing, how to comply and where to go for more information.
A.D. Jones raises Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) and Certified Non-GMO by AGW pastured pigs in Chinquapin, North Carolina. A.D. is an experienced farmer, and has been raising pigs on pasture for many years. Pigs at Albert D. Jones Farm are raised outdoors, on pasture or range, where they are free to root and forage as pigs naturally do. This high-welfare management is a fundamental component of AGW certification and is known to have environmental, nutritional, and culinary benefits.
A.D. is also a member of the North Carolina Natural Hog Growers Association, a cooperative of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW and Certified Non-GMO by AGW hog producers who sell to restaurants, retailers and food processors throughout the region.