Under the leadership of the NJ State Board of Agriculture and its Livestock Processing subcommittee, New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) staff has been working to identify livestock processing solutions for New Jersey producers. As we have learned over this past year, inadequate access to USDA-inspected processing facilities offering “custom cutting” services has resulted in capacity issues at out-of-state facilities and an artificial ceiling on the growth of this promising marketing opportunity for producers across the state.
This summer, NJDA was successful in securing a Rural Business Enterprise Grant through USDA-Rural Development Office to assess the feasibility of various supplemental livestock processing options for New Jersey producers. This project will examine three primary solutions: a regional processing facility centrally-located within the state; retrofitting of an existing processing facility to enable custom-cutting under USDA inspection; additional USDA-inspected on-farm processing facilities available to clusters of producers within different regions of the state.
The first step is to establish a clearer picture of New Jersey’s livestock industry through a comprehensive survey of producers. Specifically, the size and scale of operations engaged in custom processing for resale at retail, the processing solutions producers are utilizing now and an evaluation of the long-term sustainability of these solutions, among other things.
Without this information, our ability to prepare a feasibility study that adequately encapsulates the industry’s needs will be difficult, if not impossible. That is why I am asking each of you to click on the link below and complete the survey by Friday, October 18th, 2019.
Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NJLivestock
The goal of this project is to produce a comprehensive feasibility study within the next nine months. The findings from this study may be used to leverage follow-on grant funding or outside investment for project development, so your prompt responses are critical!
If you have any questions or need additional information, do not hesitate to contact NJDA’s Division of Marketing and Development at 609-292-5536.