12/22/2017 UPDATE
Announcement: Special Poultry Processing Exemption Extended Another Year
In an effort to support poultry farmers across the state, Dr. Beth Yongue, Director of NCDA&CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division, has extended the special exemption which allows poultry exempt operators to slaughter or process other persons’ poultry for another year.  The new expiration date is December 31, 2018. 

We all would like to extend a big thank you to NCDA&CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division for their continued support of independent poultry producers across the state.  For more details pertaining to the special exemption and farm resources, please visit the NCDA&CS MPID website.

We hope everyone has a safe and joyous holiday,
~NC Choices team
11/17/2017 UPDATE
On December 7, 2017 there is an opportunity to learn Food Safety Training for Mobile Poultry Processing. Folks considering processing birds on farm will find this workshop helpful. This is a collaborative workshop between North Carolina State University, Clemson University Cooperative Extension, and  Tar River Poultry Initiative.
News Release
November 16, 2017
By: Martha L. Mobley
NC Cooperative Extension
Agriculture Agent, Franklin CountyNorth Carolina State University and Clemson University Cooperative Extension are collaborating to provide training on backyard poultry processing techniques and food safety in Louisburg, NC on Thursday, December 7. The training will be located at First Fruits Farm off of Mort Harris Road near Louisburg, and will be sponsored by the Tar River Poultry Initiative. We will be using their new equipment on their mobile unit.Training details and topics to be covered by instructor, Dr. Doug Smith of Clemson University are: pre-slaughter handling, slaughter, processing, chilling, cut-up and deboning, packaging and labeling, and current NC regulations. We will begin with registration at 9:30 a.m, with a start time of 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. There is a fee of $40 to participate which includes a box lunch at the farm. Checks can be made out to: Tar River Poultry Initiative, LLC.”Please dress appropriately for outside processing and this includes bringing rubber boots. To pre-register, contact Martha Mobley, Ag Agent, at martha_mobley@ncsu.edu or call the Franklin County Cooperative Extension Center at 919-496-3344 before Tuesday, December 5.
Note:  we will have a compliance officer with NCDA & CS Meat & Poultry Inspection present also to answer questions that may arise.  ###
11/1/2017 UPDATE

Please see the public list of poultry exempt operators who have received short term approval from the Director of NCDA&CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division to slaughter or process other person’s poultry (provided all other provisions of MPID Notice 6-14 are followed).  NC Choices will regularly update this list as more exempt operators are approved for public service. Please note that the second tab lists the contacts for the Mobile Processing Units that are available for rent if producers want to process their own birds on their farm.

List of Poultry Operators Granted Short Term Exemption to Process for Other Farmers & MPUs to Rent

In light of the special exemption and for your convenience, we have also included labeling requirements for poultry processed under exemption. Please see below. We hope you all find this helpful.

~NC Choices

Labeling Requirements Under the Short Term Special Exemption for Poultry Operators

  1. All poultry or poultry products produced under exemption must be labeled with the following:
    1. Processor’s name = (in the case of the special exemption whereby someone else can process birds for you, “processor’s name” refers to the owner of the birds)
    2. Address of the processor (in the case of the special exemption, the address refers to the farm address of the owner of the birds)
    3. This statement: “Exempt P.L. 90-492”  (this is known as “Producers/Grower Exemption”)
    4. Safe Handling instructions (see example below) and as shown in Attachment 2 of MPID Notice 6-14
  2. For farmers who are used to processing in an inspected facility, please note that labels used at an inspected facility, such as Foothills Pilot Plant, may not be applied to these products.Those labels bear the Federal Mark of Inspection and other information indicating the birds were inspected by the USDA and are therefore not allowed to be used in processing exempt from federally inspected facilities.  Under the on-farm poultry exemption, birds must be processed in a sanitary manner, but there is no USDA inspector checking the birds for disease.
  3. Special claims such as “local,” “free range,” “raised without antibiotics,” are not permitted on exempt poultry products per MPID Notice 6-14 (Revision 2), “Requirements for the Producer/Grower 20,000 Poultry Exemption”. If poultry producers desire to make any claims about their poultry products, such poultry must be slaughtered and processed at the nearest USDA inspected poultry slaughter establishment.
  4. Printing and Applying Your Label:
    1. If a producer has his or her birds processed under exemption, he or she can print and apply their own labels (see requirements above in #1). Producers can download the Safe Handling Instructions (Attachment 2 of MPID Notice 6-14) to print. If an exempt poultry operator is processing chickens for other producers under the special exemption and they are willing to share their labels, the producer may use the exempt processor’s label and just apply a sticker with their own farm name and address over the processor’s name and address to cover that information.  Exempt poultry operators reserve the right to charge for this service.
    2. Be sure a weatherproof label is applied BEFORE the product is placed in a cooler/freezer. Most labels that are used in office settings (for address labels and such that one can buy at Wal-Mart, Staples, etc.) will not stay affixed when exposed to refrigeration temperatures.

Example of Correct Label

Label example

10/27/2017 UPDATE

Due to the lack of poultry processing services before the holidays, Dr. Beth Yongue, Director of NCDA&CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division, is granting an exemption for a limited period of time (through 12/31/17) which would allow poultry exempt operators to slaughter or process other persons’ poultry, provided all other provisions of MPID Notice 6-14 are followed (detailed below).  This also means that poultry exempt operators can charge for use of their equipment and services and producers can bring all their birds to a central location to process.  This is a big help to those exploring processing options at this time as it will greatly aid in efficiency.

If you are a poultry exempt operator who wants to charge for their services/equipment and process for others you must:

  • Send Dr.Yongue an email (beth.yongue@ncagr.gov) indicating you are an exempt processor and would like to offer your facility, your equipment on-farm, or stationary MPU on your farm for other poultry owners to process poultry under exemptionand/or to provide processing services to other poultry owners who would be otherwise be eligible for exemption, through 12/31/17. Dr. Yongue will review and provide a letter back authorizing that producer to process.  You may also call her office number directly with questions at 919-707-3180

If you are a farmer interested in bringing your poultry to an exempt operator for slaughter:

  • CFSA and NC Choices will post a running list on our websites (pending permission to share contact info from the exempt operators) of who is approved as exempt operators, their contact information, and respective locations.
  • Please note:Farmers will not need to request permission each time they make their facility/equipment on farm available for another farm. Farmers would be well-advised to check with their insurance carrier before offering their facilities for this service.  Farmers using the service would be responsible for keeping their own records of the number of birds they had processed.

Please see notice below and a huge thanks to Dr. Yongue for this time-sensitive exemption!


MPID Notice 6-14 (Revision 2), “Requirements for the Producer/Grower 20,000 Poultry Exemption” item 7. reads:

“With the exception of mobile slaughter units, the facility used to slaughter or process the poultry is not used to slaughter or process another person’s poultry unless the State Director of Meat and Poultry Inspection grants an exemption.”

Due to the closure of the only small poultry processing facility in North Carolina, and the demand for birds over the upcoming Holiday season, I am willing to grant short term exemptions to poultry exempt operators, allowing them to slaughter or process other persons’ poultry, provided all other provisions of MPID Notice 6-14 are followed.  Exemptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis and will expire December 31, 2017.  Requests for this exemption should be made to me in written form (email is fine). 

A copy of MPID Notice 6-14 is linked below.


Thank you,


Dr. Beth Yongue
State Director
NCDA & CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division
1001 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1001
(919) 707-3180 office
(919) 715-0246 fax

As many of you know, Foothills Pilot Plant, the poultry processing facility in Marion, NC operated by Cool Hand Meats announced that it is closing its doors. We know many independent poultry producers in NC are scrambling to try to figure out next steps esp given the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday demands.
NC Choices, NCDA Meat and Poultry Inspection Division, CFSA and others are all working to get information out to folks as soon as possible on next steps for poultry processing in the state.  Cool Hand Meats has a public statement on their website here regarding their current status to stop processing birds.  However, their board is meeting to discuss next steps and they will have more information available to share this week after they meet.
In an effort to gather any processing resources for small scale poultry producers at this time, NC Choices has consolidated some poultry processing alternatives (albeit many are not at all ideal) and additional information below.

Closest USDA Poultry Processors for Small Farmers that are Currently Accepting New Customers:

Marksbury Farm Market 7907 Nicholasville Rd., Lancaster, KY 40444 Kentucky
859-548-2333 www.marksburyfarm.com
436 miles from Greensboro, NC
About 7 hours
Notes: Currently taking new customers. No turkeys, no ducks. Seasonally chicken processing. Processing chicken until end of October. Resumes late spring/early summer 2018.

King & Sons Poultry Service 8091 Horatio Harris Creek Rd., Bradford, OH
45308 Ohio 937-448-2448 http://www.kingandsonspoultry.com/
479 miles from Greensboro, NC
About 7 ½ hours
Notes: Currently takes new customers. Chicken and turkeys. No ducks. Limited Thanksgiving Turkey processing – must call to find out availability. Would be willing to open on Saturday 11/11/17 for a minimum of 500 turkeys.

Marble City Meats 514 Odena Rd. N, Sylacauga, AL 35150 Alabama 205-936-6120
461 miles from Greensboro, NC
About 7 hours
Notes: Currently only processing hogs. Might re-open in time to process turkeys. Uncertain.

S & S Enterprises 9010 Richardsville Rd., Bowling Green, KY 42101 Kentucky
270-777-0240 http://www.aboutssenterprises.com/
497 miles from Greensboro, NC
About 8 hours
Notes: Taking new customers as of December 1, 2017. Processes chicken and ducks.

Please note that Williamsburg Packing is currently not taking new customers. Might take new customers in January 2018.

Williamsburg Packing 920 Eastland Ave., Kingstree, SC 29556 South Carolina
196 miles from Greensboro, NC
About 3 hours
Notes: Currently not taking new customers. Might take new customers in January 2018. Processes chicken, turkey, and ducks

Mobile Processing Units (MPUs) Available for Rent

Darby Farms, Union Mill, NC

Contact: Daniel Dover

Phone:  (678) 617-3468

Windy Bottoms Farm, Orange County

Contact: John Frank

Email: jfrank12@yahoo.com

Phone: 919-304-1151

Other info: “We have recently put together a mobile poultry processing unit based out of Mebane, NC and it is available for rent and we would love to get on the list you mentioned in this e-mail.  It is an open air unit with Featherman equipment (scalder, manual dunker, killing cone station, two stainless steel tables, stainless steel sink, water heater, multiple chilling tanks, and shrink bag station.  We also have two chicken crates for handling and transport of poultry (works for ducks too).  It is on a 16 foot utility trailer for easy transport.”

NC State Extension, Harnett County Center

Contact: Brian Parrish

Email: brian_parrish@ncsu.edu

Phone: 910-893-7530 and 919-692-5845 (cell)

Pricing: $75 for 3-day rental + $25 fee to join Livestock Association

Appalachian State University

Contact: Todd Rudicill

Email: rudicilljt@appstate.edu

Phone: 336-877-3455


Pricing: $50 for 3 day rental

Tar River Poultry Initiative, LLC Franklin County

Contact: Julie Gupton

Email: TarRiverPoultry@gmail.com

Phone: 919-414-3759 (call or text)


Address: 370 Brewer Road, Louisburg, NC 27549

Pricing: Rate of rental will vary according to the species of birds to be processed, quantity of birds to be processed and the distance of travel from our base location in Franklin Co. and the farm’s location.  For chickens rates start at $99/day (max. 50 birds), $149/day (51 to 99 birds) and $199/day (100+ birds).  Transport fee will depend on location of the farm (we have not yet set a rate for that).  

Other info: “The unit is not equipped to handle waterfowl at this time. The MPPU is a 7′ x 14′ bumper pull open trailer.  The equipment mounted/housed on the MPPU consists of a 4′ kill station (serves up to 4 birds at a time), an automatic scalder with rotating dunker (serves up to 6 chickens or 2 turkeys at a time), 27″ S.S. plucker (serves up to 50 lbs of  chicken or 30-40 lbs of turkey) and two evisceration tables that can accommodate up to two workers per table, all electrical & plumbing connections up to sources and some misc. accessories to aid in processing, cleaning and storage of the equipment for the unit.  The farm will need to provide labor, LP gas cylinder, 120v power supply & potable water source within 75′ of the site where unit will be setup, enough ice and coolers to sufficiently cool the birds to be processed, cutlery and misc. containers for handling waste & edibles during processing.  Waste disposal and water management will be the responsibility of the farm. The farm must be prepared to chill, store and package their birds once processing has been completed.”

As a reminder, a person may slaughter and process (on his or her farm) poultry that he/she raised and he/she can sell that poultry in the state under our state exemption laws. The equipment can be rented to other farmers (per the 1,000 and 20,000 bird exemption).  Farmers cannot process birds for others as a fee for service or congregate together on one farm to group process.  The equipment can be rented for a fee to a farmer and/or their staff to use to process their own birds on their own farm.  Equipment can be rented over state lines IF the other state(s) have poultry exemption laws in place as well (but product must be sold within state).

Although preferred, farmers do not have to be listed as an approved exempt operators in order to use an MPU for sale under the exemption guidelines. For regulatory questions, please contact NCDA Meat and Poultry Inspection Division http://www.ncagr.gov/MeatPoultry/

*Additional Home Processing Resources* These links provide information for On-Farm Poultry Processing including harvesting, pre-processing, processing, and post-processing tips. As well as a pricing tool.
Best Management Practices for On-Farm Poultry Processing (PDF)
On Farm Poultry Breakdown (Video)

Additional Resources
Niche Meat Processing Assistance Network (NMPAN) Poultry Specific Resources including a list of USDA Inspected Poultry Plants for Independent Farmers

NCDA Consumer Services Meat & Poultry Inspection Division (Website)
Poultry Processing Exempt Regulations

Poultry Exemption Requirements (1,000 or less birds)
Poultry Exemption Requirements (20,000 or less or less birds )

For more regulatory information, please visit NCDA Meat and Poultry Inspection Division http://www.ncagr.gov/MeatPoultry/
If you have or know of someone who has MPU equipment for rent, please email Sheila Neal, NC Choices Project Coordinator: sheila@ncchoices.com, to share their contact information with us.
Many thanks and we’ll update as soon as we have more info.
~NC Choices team