In the 2005 legislature, the Grow Montana Coalition successfully passed legislation that allows the state of Montana to inspect mobile meat processing facilities, opening the poultry market to small-scale independent producers. This legislation and the Montana Poultry Growers Cooperative’s Mobile Processing Unit (MPU) creates an infrastructure to allow poultry growers in Montana to sell their products locally. This enables small-scale farmers to increase their farms’ diversity, and thus increase farms’ viability in the future.
It is an exciting time for small-scale poultry growers in Montana, with growing markets for pasture-raised, local poultry and the appropriate technology to produce and sell it. The Montana Poultry Growers Cooperative is proud to be a part of the economic growth and environmental sustainability that comes with bringing value-added products like pasture-raised, on-farm processed poultry into the local food system in Montana. A local poultry market is not only good for local economies, but also provides for more humane processing with less environmental impact. On-farm poultry processing eliminates the transportation that birds would otherwise have to endure, and minimizes their handling before slaughter. Environmental concerns can also be mitigated with on-farm processing because there are far fewer birds being processed in one place, greatly reducing the impact wastewater has on waterways.
“Fortunately, a growing number of farmers, nationally and in Montana, believe it is possible to produce the animals we eat with integrity, humanity, and attention to ecological systems”
-Sarah Stokes, “Mobile Processing: Appropriate Technology for Pastured Poultry Producers”.