In another move to promote local meat infrastructure, the USDA announced a red meat mobile slaughter information session for June 24
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced it will host an information session on red meat mobile slaughter units later this month. According to the agency, the goal of the session is to educate farmers, ranchers, and processors on how to set up the mobile units, receive the federal grant of inspection, and meet the necessary federal food safety requirements.

The info session is part of the agency’s wide effort to promote mobile slaughter as a means of rebuilding local and regional meat infrastructure through the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative. Small, alternative ranchers and processors tapping into burgeoning consumer demand for local, “all natural” meat are facing limited access to USDA-inspected slaughter facilities.

Mobile slaughter units are self-contained slaughter facilities that can travel from site to site. According to the agency, “FSIS inspected mobile slaughter units provide a feasible option for small livestock producers wanting to provide safe, wholesome meat product to local and interstate consumer markets.”

Supporting slaughter availability for small livestock and poultry producers will benefit both local food systems and the public health, the agency said in a presentation given to reporters last month.

The USDA released details for farmers, ranchers, or processors interested in attending:

The red meat mobile slaughter unit information session will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center in Boonsboro, Maryland. Livestock for these mobile units include cattle, hogs, goats, and sheep.

FSIS officials will highlight how to apply for the federal grant of inspection and discuss inspection issues unique to mobile slaughter units.

The information session will also include presentations by other USDA agencies and the University of Maryland on how to market small and very small producers’ grass-fed beef products, how producers can become certified “USDA Organic” through the Agricultural Marketing Service’s National Organic Program, and a review of federal grant and loan options.

The meeting agenda is available here.