New Partnership Benefits Poultry Producers in Northwest Washington

A new partnership between the Snohomish Co-op and the Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC) has been announced that will benefit local small scale poultry producers.  Adding to the rental program already established in Mount Vernon and Oak Harbor, a third set of Featherman Poultry Processing Equipment will become available for rent starting mid-March at the Snohomish farm products retailer.

The rental program is administered by NABC, and will service producers in Snohomish and neighboring counties year-round.  The program currently serves over 120 producers and often turns away renters due to a heavily booked reservation calendar.  NABC Project Manager Sera Hartman said, “Utilizing professional processing equipment saves the producer a lot of time and energy.  Making a third set of poultry equipment available will not only ease reservation scheduling, this will open up market opportunities for small scale farmers down in Snohomish and support folks who just want to raise a home-grown food source.”

The Snohomish Co-op sponsored the purchase of the new equipment and will provide storage and load-out assistance to renters. Bonnie Cavin, in charge of the Co-op’s Accounts Receivable department said, “It makes good sense for us to provide this service for our poultry customers. We supply the chicks, the poultry feed, equipment, and other supplies and now can complete the circle by helping make this equipment available. And I want to invite everyone to our fun Chick Days event from March 16th to the 18th where we’ll have our new batch of spring chicks for sale and officially launch the equipment rental program.  Sera from NABC will be on hand to explain the program and accept the first rental reservations for our location!.”

The lack of processing facilities and equipment has been a major hurdle for many of the farmers and is a reason there are so few poultry growers marketing birds in the region. NABC’s low cost rental program allows for farmers to efficiently process & market birds without significant capital investment.

To sell chickens that are processed using the rental equipment, farmers are required to have a special temporary license issued by the WSDA. The permit allows producers to sell direct to the end consumer right from the farm. No license is needed if the birds are for personal consumption.  NABC charges a daily rental fee of $25 + tax for a 24 hour period  to cover maintenance and repair of the equipment.  Rental reservations can be made by calling NABC at (360) 336-3727. More information about the equipment rental program is available at NABC’s website www.agbizcenter.org.

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