In Oregon, where there were once many slaughter and processing facilities, processors are now larger and fewer in number. This consolidated market power impedes farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to get their products to retail markets. As such, marketplace demands for responsibly raised meats and poultry are not being met. In addition, food safety regulations for meat and poultry are based on an industrial model that fails to address the needs of family-scale farms and ranches.

The Current Situation

  • A profound lack of USDA-certified slaughter and processing facilities in several parts of Oregon results in:
    • Limited facility access, especially at busy times of the year
    • Prohibitive costs when necessary to travel great distance to access facilities
    • Increased animal stress involved with long-distance travel, decreasing the quality of the product and quality of life for the animals
    • Increased risk to producers when basing business decisions on access to only one processing facility that is at capacity
    • Decreased ability to expand business when it is not possible to increase quantity and diversity of animals delivered to market
    • A lack of retail possibilities for local livestock producers to connect with consumers
  • The needs of family-scale meat/poultry slaughter and processing differ from the industrial model and are not being met by the current system:
    • Most meat and poultry infrastructure is set up for commodity production, limiting direct to consumer and local retail marketing potential
    • Infrastructure development for certified on-farm slaughter/processing facilities is cost prohibitive, and only serves one farm instead of the community
    • Food safety rules and regulations around slaughter and processing are designed to manage industrial food production and are typically not relevant or effective for smaller or diverse producers
  • Other states are working with producers to open up new processing and marketing possibilities, potentially putting Oregon producers at a competitive disadvantage
  • There are no rendering facilities in Oregon, limiting carcass as well as offal disposal options and the ability of new processing facilities to open

Priority Action Items

For State Attention:

  • Assist with the expansion of appropriate infrastructure and the ability for Oregon producers to capitalize on local opportunities:
    • Help fund and assist custom-exempt shops convert to USDA standards
    • Provide grants and other assistance for mobile-meat and poultry processing units, both USDA and custom/1000 bird exempt
    • Develop rules allowing small-scale rabbit producers to sell retail
    • Re-open Oregon State University’s USDA processing facility in Corvallis for use by local producers and butcher training
    • Recognize federal 1000-bird exemption for on-farm poultry slaughter, processing and sales – adopted through legislation in 2011 and 2013.
  • Re-establish or facilitate the development of rendering facilities and/or other offal disposal possibilities for smaller-scale meat processing facilities.

For Federal Attention:

  • Amend processing regulatory system to be results-based and scale-appropriate for local communities:
    • Use animals per acre nutrient load to determine appropriate numbers for on-farm production, processing, disposal and food safety measures
    • Allow certified third-party inspection for on-farm slaughter and fixed processing facilities that results in the ability to sell retail for large animals

Return to the main Agricultural Reclamation Act page.