Mobile Poultry Processing- Oregon’s First

It all started with a phone call looking for raw milk.

After Brian Schack (of The Schack Farm) and I spoke for several minutes about raw milk and the likelihood of our family acquiring some of his white ambrosia, our conversation somehow turned to his need to thin out some of his expiring laying hens. Hmm, laying hens, huh? That was my invitation to tell him of the conversations Provenance Farm and I had been having with the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) about a mobile processing unit (MPU) for poultry. After that, there were the proverbial fireworks and we decided to meet to discuss further.

That dark, winter night in 2010 at Full City Cafe in Eugene, Brian sat and listened to some of the finer details of the conversations Provenance and I had been having with the ODA. In short, we had hit the two big bench marks to see an MPU become a reality. We had received the ODA’s blessing to proceed with a design, and we had our financing. The missing pieces to get started at that point was a trailer to build on, and an experienced person to build it.

Brian looked me in the eyes and said two things I had not expected to hear, that made me shout with joy when I returned to my car to go home. “Derek, I have a 33′ goose neck trailer I can give to the effort. And, I can build it.”

We were in business!

It has taken longer to assemble than we planned (doesn’t it always work out that way?). And in fact we are not quite done. But I wanted to share pictures with you that show an evolution of the work we have been doing up to this point. Enjoy.

Brian and I discuss layout of internal equipment.

The first wall is erected with steel framing.

 

This shows our retractable kill floor in the "work" position. It gives us an additional 128 square feet to work on.

 

The kill floor in the "travel" position.

Brian welds windows and doors together. Three windows, two doors.

The first piece of exterior siding goes on.

 

Inside walls- 1

 

Inside walls- 2

 

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Mobile Poultry Processing- Oregon’s First

  1. Jon

    Wow! It looks great. Are you going to operate it under the poultry processing exemption? How did you decide on the size?
    Jon

    • Derek Brandow

      Hi Jon,
      Our design has the blessing of the ODA so we will be operating under the 20,000 bird exemption (ODA still needs to come and take a peek at things and give it the official sign off). We wanted something big enough to move a lot of birds through…say 20,000:) The retractable kill floor just gave us that much more room, and truely allowed for us to have a “clean room” inside. Other than that, its a 33 foot trailer so we are limited in what dimensions we have to work with; its a long box, lol. We will most likely have an evisceration and QC table going down the middle with pre chill sinks on the end where the chill tanks will sit. We’d love to have you down for a look whne you have time.

  2. Bruce Mock

    Several of us are planning to operate a broiler operation in sustainable, humane (chickane), organic, natural methods, using chickens with genetics and growth patterns that we can live with, in the Willamette Valley. One of the key issues, in ramping up to commercial production seems to be a lack of processing facilities locally. So bully for you. I’m right behind your efforts to build portable, and regulatorally approved processing facilities. Would you be able to work some others of us into a rotational cycle quarterly and process under contract? If that facility works I think it will spur some more of us into local production and expand the whole market.

    • Derek Brandow

      Hi Bruce. I appreciate the work you are pursuing. Thank you for reaching to us. I am curious to hear more about your thoughts on the chicken that has the genetics and growth pattern we can live with. Sounds interesting. New breed perhaps?

      Agreed. Access to processing (affordable processing) is a huge wall to developing and growing our food shed in The Valley. Lets talk more off line about a rotational cycle option. The ultimate goal of the MPU is for many small producers to have access to the facility. Reach me at ourfamilyfarm.info@gmail.com

      • Bruce

        Hi Derek, It is a delight to hear that you are nearing completion on the Mobile Processing Unit for broilers, and that everything else is moving ahead well on the farm. Our healthy farming and eating approach is really getting some legs isn’t it? We’re moving ahead with both our grass fed beef program and our meat bird plans, a little further North in the Willamette Valley. I’m hoping that we can cooperate with you as we develop this little industry into something significant in our lives and throughout this lovely little Willamette Valley, we all call home. What does the timeline look like for being able to set up a rotational cycle option for the Mobile Processing Unit? How could we help get that working? Keep in touch. All the Best.

        Bruce

      • Derek Brandow

        Hi Bruce. Sorry for the delayed response. Yes, it is exciting to see more and more people making sustainable food choices, and for people like us to play a bigger role in it’s availability. Keep up the good work!

        Our MPU is operational, not fully, but its humming:) we are so excited. And we are excited to share it as soon as it is ready. We have been encouraging people to stay tuned as we work out the details of sharing it. Thanks for offering your help.

        Speak soon

  3. Exciting! When it’s built, would you be willing to bring it to Bandon?

    • Derek Brandow

      Hi Marilyn,

      The ultimate goal is to allow several small farms access to this processing facility. As we are just wrapping up the intial push to completion, we have not yet considered a scheduel outside of Lane and Benton County. However, we should talk more because there may be oportunity for you and others down south to use the facility. Reach out to us at ourfamilyfarm.info@gmail.com if this sounds interesting.

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