Photo courtesy of NABC

Another seminar I enjoyed at Focus on Farming was getting to tour the new mobile poultry processing unit owned and operated by the Northwest Ag Business Center (NABC). I had heard about this, but it was neat to see it in person.

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I have been so remiss on blogging lately! Last weekend we went camping and razor clamming. The weather was beautiful and warm, it could have been June rather than mid-December. I’ll include photos from the beach, since my topic has no photos.

Here is a short tidbit on another seminar I enjoyed at the recent Focus on Farming. This one was given by Kathryn Quanbeck, Program Manager for Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN). She covered the broad topic of slaughter options- custom-exempt versus state-inspected (which we don’t have) versus USDA-inspected. Her talk was very good, bringing some of the frank realities to the table.

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I went to Focus on Farming last week. Here are a few notes from one of the presentations I attended, on the new USDA Grass Fed program for “small and very small producers.” The class was presented by Steve Ross from the USDA, who developed and oversees his new program. (I think this is a link to the slide deck he used, or something very similar.)

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imageA few notes from a meeting I attended in early August, on the newly-forming farmers’ cooperative, North Cascade Meats (also on Facebook here). We have very limited options for USDA slaughter in our area, which makes it nearly impossible to sell meat by the cut to consumers and restaurants. This group intends to change that, by creating a cooperatively-owned USDA slaughter option.

Currently, I only sell lamb on the hoof, to either customers who have it processed by a local custom-exempt butcher, or to customers who can do their own processing. This works for me right now, as I don’t produce that many butcher lambs, and they all sell out. But looking ahead, I am interested in other channels in which to sell lamb, as I increase the size of my herd. And, it would be nice to be able to give out, or sell, samples to people considering buying my lamb. Thus, I have been watching this group with interest for quite some time.

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pix 328Last winter, a butcher lamb buyer emailed me expressing concern over some negative Yelp reviews given for the local butcher. Curious, I gave them a read, as well as the reviews of all the other local butchers. And they made me chuckle! It seems, there are some things to learn about custom butchers that may be novel to the uninitiated. Fortunately, most of the reviews of our hard-working butcher shops are positive. But the angry customers have some quote-worthy complaints!

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