Back in 2014 when the Michigan Small Farm Council held our first fundraiser, I tried to purchase barbecue chicken from restaurants who purchase from local producers, so we could serve locally grown chicken sliders to our guests. That is when I learned just how hard it is to purchase local poultry in SE Michigan in any kind of quantity; one retailer told me it was easy to get poultry that was distributed locally, but nearly impossible to get poultry that was raised and processed locally. I came to understand that a big part of the problem is that Michigan doesn't have enough of a poultry processing infrastructure to broadly support the production of local poultry.
In a nutshell, the amount of locally produced poultry that consumers can purchase is limited not only by the number of farms producing poultry, but also by the number of poultry processors that serve them. In the entire state of Michigan, for example, there is currently only one USDA-certified poultry processor that serves independent producers, and that is the wonderful Munsell's Poultry Processing in Fowlerville, Michigan.
So, last spring I started a new company called Mighty Fine Poultry Processing, LLC, and wrote a grant to the USDA to do a feasibility study on opening the second USDA-certified poultry processing facility in Michigan for independent producers. I won that grant, and am now conducting a couple of short surveys to determine whether this idea is feasible idea from a business perspective.
The first survey is for poultry producers of any size in Michigan who process at least some of their birds. If this describes you, I hope you'll fill out this survey. Or, if you know of other producers, I hope you'll pass this on to them. The overall goal is to increase the number of locally produced poultry in Michigan to benefit both producers and consumers, which I hope you'll support by completing the survey. In addition, there will be a drawing for a $100 gift card as a way to thank everyone for their effort. Here is the link to the survey; please feel free to share.