For the interested, find below the details of the grant proposal. In the service of transparency, I will also begin to track its expenses and construction, both as an exercise particular to this project, as well as an initial step toward a more comprehensive policy of open accounting for the farm generally. Finally, throughout are some recent photos of the farm this fall, as well as three photos of the unit at Foothill Family Farms in North Carolina that sparked this idea, and is the basic model on which we'll proceed.
The goal of this project is to complete a poultry mobile processing unit (MPU) to be made available subsequently for rent to regional farmers wishing and willing to process their own animals, on their own farm, in a welfare oriented way. Currently there is only one small-scale poultry processor in a five state region.
Mobile processing units are of significant benefit to farm animals. Without the enormous stresses associated with transport - catching, caging, moving, and unloading - the MPU is especially beneficial to poultry, which are often caught the night before, overnighted in transport pens, and unloaded hours later, many miles away, by people working as quickly as possible. With a MPU, it is conceivable that birds never even have to leave their enclosures on pasture.
As a cooperative project, however, the MPU will have a much more significant and widespread effect. By enabling local farmers to process their own poultry, on their own farms and in welfare oriented ways, not only are the expenses and stresses of transportation to the nearest facility in Kentucky eliminated, but one of the most important pieces of infrastructure for building local food economies will be available for use by the general public. In short, this grant will improve the viability of many farms throughout the local and regional food-shed.