Maine producers of livestock and poultry regularly grumble about how hard it is to get their animals slaughtered and processed in a state that has only a dozen federal- or state-inspected facilities. Whether it’s pigs, cows or chickens, a date at the abattoir often has to be booked months in advance. But three new facilities inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – two poultry processing plants and a slaughterhouse dedicated to red meat – are slated to open in the next few months.
Farmers and advocates say the new facilities are a major step in the quest to grow Maine’s food economy both in and out of the state. A 2014 survey by the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service found that nearly 80 percent of Mainers say they want to buy local, but local meats aren’t always readily available or at the right price points to drive sales. Growing the number of federally inspected facilities in the state could increase supply and allow more Maine meat to be sold across state lines…(click here to read full article)