Dr. Pal Manhiani (general manager of the Foothills Pilot Plant) reported on the progress of a great new facility. McDowell County is fortunate to have this new cooperative-style meat processing facility. It is scheduled to be open this fall and is located near the minimum security prison.
The non-profit facility will allow local meat producers the ability to obtain as-needed processing of their livestock while obtaining USDA approval. Currently, small producers can grow and market their meat but are limited to 1000 animals (and no USDA approval). Now the new shared-use facility will allow them to increase their business and have the USDA stamp of approval. Producers within a 2-3 hour radius are expected to use the facility. Dr. Manhiani reports having calls from Georgia, SC, and Tennessee as well as NC.
The facility will initially be run on inmate labor. This is a win-win since the facility will hold costs low and the inmates obtain a marketable skill.
The facility will start with chicken and rabbit production but will expand to include geese, quail, and ducks.