Chickens flyin' everywhere around the plane

North Country Pastured's new slaughterhouse. Chickens may not want to walk that gangplank. Photo: Julie Grant.

North Country Pastured's new slaughterhouse. Chickens may not want to walk that gangplank. Photo: Julie Grant.

OK, the first chicken reference that comes to my head this morning is from Arlo Guthrie. But as you heard in Julie's report this morning, St. Lawrence county is hoping local chickens are flying into local freezers and local stores, now that a new chicken mobile slaughterhouse is off the ground.

This is what really caught my ear in this morning's story – that, until now, any chicken raised in New York State had to be sent somewhere else to be slaughtered to become USDA-certified (and therefore eligible to be sold to grocery stores, schools, hospitals, etc.):

Syracuse University food studies professor Rick Welsh, who lived in the North Country for many years, co-owns the mobile unit. He says the USDA label will make a huge difference for producers and consumers. "Up until last year, there was no USDA certified poultry processing in New York State. All the chicken that we eat, ate, came from out of state." Welsh says many North Country chicken are sent to Pennsylvania and other states for processing.

Poultry processed in New York has mostly been sold at farmer's markets and similar places, because the USDA cerification hasn't been available. He says a USDA approved poultry processor opened recently in Croghan. And now the mobile unit is ready to start moving.

The appearance of several economic development leaders at yesterday's ribbon-cutting shows that lawmakers see the emerging local food movement as having legs, or at the very least, politically advantageous. Lawmakers of both parties were quoted in the press release. Assemblywoman Addie Russell was there and said in the press release:

This unit brings great opportunity for growth in the North Country – by creating jobs and bringing an innovate business to the area. Local farmers and markets will benefit greatly from the service that will be provided.

The attention to North Country agriculture continues today, as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand makes a swing through the region. She's touring Tug Hill Vineyard in Lowville. Here's what her office says she'll be talking about:

At Tug Hill Vineyard, Senator Gillibrand will push for passage of the Senate Farm Bill, which includes priorities to help specialty crops, expand markets for farmers, and increase the availability of nutritious locally-grown food for consumers. As a member of the President’s Export Council, Senator Gillibrand will discuss ways to address trade inequities for wineries and announce new local funding for a program to help promote local agricultural products overseas.

Gillibrand will also talk about the Senate version of the Farm Bill and its rural broadband program in Long Lake this afternoon. The Democratic Senator is also making stops in  Plattsburgh and Tupper Lake today.

DISCLOSURE NOTE: North Country Public Radio's general manager, Ellen Rocco, is a partner in the North Country Pastured chicken mobile slaughterhouse project.

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One Comment

  1. Hats off to all who worked so hard to bring this to fruition.