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Mobile meat processing coming to Nebraska

Livestock producers in rural areas of Nebraska may soon have better and closer access to meat processing facilities thanks to a mobile meat processing unit that has been built, and is currently awaiting USDA approval.

Jim Knopik of Belgrade, NE, is a member of the team instrumental in purchasing and building the mobile meat processing trailer. Knopik is a member of the Nebraska Environmental Action Coalition (NEAC) and the North Star Neighbors. The two groups share a common goal of finding ways to bring the profitability back into small Nebraska farms and ranches.

“Infrastructure for most small farmers to direct market or even process their own food is nearly non-existent in a large portion of Nebraska,” Knopik said. “There are only a few USDA-inspected plants and lockers available for direct marketing, and most of those are in the eastern part of the state,” he explained.

Knopik explained how difficult it is to compete in the marketplace with substantial expenses associated with traveling to approved meat packing facilities that are located far from the farm. Knopik said he has to travel 60 miles one way to find a USDA-approved slaughter plant for his naturally-raised beef. “We have to travel to the plant three times – once to deliver the beef, once to pick up the meat, and a third time to pick up the smoked portions of the beef.”

Knopik said the amount of travel costs involved in processing and packaging the beef make it difficult to compete in the marketplace, especially since they only raise a small number of beef for processing. “Processing facilities that are closer to where the food is raised would increase competition in the marketplace, not only in quality, but in price, too,” he explained.

When the NEAC was formed five years ago, Knopik said the group was looking for a project they could undertake that would help the small producers be more competitive and sustainable. They came up with animal processing because it is an infrastructure that has been lost, and replaced by the consolidation of the meat processing companies. “We felt like the larger plants we have in this state make the producers do all the work and take all the risks to bring animals to them in one consolidated area, Knopik said. “We wanted to create a mobile meat processing unit (MMPU) that would help producers reduce their shipping costs and the time they spend on the road.”

Before undertaking the venture, members of the group traveled to South Dakota to visit a current MMPU on a South Dakota Indian Reservation. “We found that after watching the process, it is a very humane way of slaughtering an animal,” he explained. “A buffalo was chosen from the herd and hauled to the unit where the slaughter took place. Everything was just so calmly done that day, and flowed so well. It was the most humane way I’ve ever seen of harvesting animals.”

Knopik said when an MMPU is used, a USDA inspector has to be present while the slaughter is taking place.

After touring the facility and seeing their operation, the group decided developing a MMPU was something they wanted to pursue in Nebraska. “We have several people in Nebraska who are interested in direct marketing,” Knopik said. “We wanted to build this unit as cheaply as possible. After researching MMPUs, we found that we should be able to build a unit for around $150,000,” he explained. “Fortunately, one of our committee members found trailers that would work well for MMPUs, and we ended up purchasing two of them,” he continued. “After we got them back to Nebraska and saw how well they were going to work, we went back and purchased four more.”

The trailers have a cooling unit and rails for hauling animals. They are 14-feet tall with 11-feet of space inside for carcasses. Winches inside the trailers are made to hoist the carcasses into the trailer.

The group worked with an engineer to design the MMPU. The trailers they purchased are 53 feet long, which will allow them more capacity than other finished MMPUs they have seen. They designed the MMPU with a cradle for dehiding, and an area with a saw, a sink, and workspace. The unit has a ramp in back for the work area.

It also has an on-board generator to run the lights and saws for cutting and processing. They also installed tanks to haul a 700 gallon water supply, which should be more than enough to last an entire day, Knopik said.

One special feature was the installation of two ozone water treatment units – one to purify the water for cleaning, and one so waste water can be dumped on site. “The water has to meet certain specifications so it can be used to clean an animal,” he said.

The MMPU has a cooler room with a capacity for 30 head of cattle. “We had to make sure is had good structural design to handle that much hanging weight,” Knopik explained. The cooler area has a door for side unloading. “A truck can pull up and remove carcasses without disturbing the people in the back cutting up the meat,” he added.

The trailer is also required to have a separate office area and restroom for the USDA inspector.

Since building the first MMPU, Knopik said they have had an opportunity to use it at a Kansas feedlot to butcher and process three animals. They have brought the unit back to Nebraska where they are working out the bugs before it receives USDA certification within the next five months.

Knopik said MMPUs can serve the same purpose as a standard processing plant, but will save a lot of money. “When we considered building our own plant, we found out that just the slaughtering part would cost around $200,000. That was not figuring anything for cutting or wrapping,” he said. “We figure if we can do this out on the farm with a mobile unit, we can avoid the zoning requirements of having it in town, and we will be able to move this unit around without having waste disposal concerns.”

Knopik said the first trailer cost nearly $170,000 to convert into a MMPU, but he anticipates the other trailers to cost less than $150,000, once they work out the bugs and develop a final design.

The group also determined the MMPU will cost $500-$600 to operate each day, but will have a capacity to process nine to 10 beef or buffalo, 24 hogs, or 40 sheep. “We think the unit will run most efficiently if it can make one stop per day,” he said. “We may need to think about setting up sites with pens and a chute that can handle more than one farmer’s animals.

The most exciting part of the project, Knopik admits, is providing the smaller producers with additional marketing opportunities for their product. “Shorter distances to processing plants mean greater savings to customers wanting to purchase locally raised meats,” he said.

Livestock producers in rural areas of Nebraska may soon have better and closer access to meat processing facilities thanks to a mobile meat processing unit that has been built, and is currently awaiting USDA approval.

Jim Knopik of Belgrade, NE, is a member of the team instrumental in purchasing and building the mobile meat processing trailer. Knopik is a member of the Nebraska Environmental Action Coalition (NEAC) and the North Star Neighbors. The two groups share a common goal of finding ways to bring the profitability back into small Nebraska farms and ranches.

“Infrastructure for most small farmers to direct market or even process their own food is nearly non-existent in a large portion of Nebraska,” Knopik said. “There are only a few USDA-inspected plants and lockers available for direct marketing, and most of those are in the eastern part of the state,” he explained.

Knopik explained how difficult it is to compete in the marketplace with substantial expenses associated with traveling to approved meat packing facilities that are located far from the farm. Knopik said he has to travel 60 miles one way to find a USDA-approved slaughter plant for his naturally-raised beef. “We have to travel to the plant three times – once to deliver the beef, once to pick up the meat, and a third time to pick up the smoked portions of the beef.”

Knopik said the amount of travel costs involved in processing and packaging the beef make it difficult to compete in the marketplace, especially since they only raise a small number of beef for processing. “Processing facilities that are closer to where the food is raised would increase competition in the marketplace, not only in quality, but in price, too,” he explained.

When the NEAC was formed five years ago, Knopik said the group was looking for a project they could undertake that would help the small producers be more competitive and sustainable. They came up with animal processing because it is an infrastructure that has been lost, and replaced by the consolidation of the meat processing companies. “We felt like the larger plants we have in this state make the producers do all the work and take all the risks to bring animals to them in one consolidated area, Knopik said. “We wanted to create a mobile meat processing unit (MMPU) that would help producers reduce their shipping costs and the time they spend on the road.”

Before undertaking the venture, members of the group traveled to South Dakota to visit a current MMPU on a South Dakota Indian Reservation. “We found that after watching the process, it is a very humane way of slaughtering an animal,” he explained. “A buffalo was chosen from the herd and hauled to the unit where the slaughter took place. Everything was just so calmly done that day, and flowed so well. It was the most humane way I’ve ever seen of harvesting animals.”

Knopik said when an MMPU is used, a USDA inspector has to be present while the slaughter is taking place.

After touring the facility and seeing their operation, the group decided developing a MMPU was something they wanted to pursue in Nebraska. “We have several people in Nebraska who are interested in direct marketing,” Knopik said. “We wanted to build this unit as cheaply as possible. After researching MMPUs, we found that we should be able to build a unit for around $150,000,” he explained. “Fortunately, one of our committee members found trailers that would work well for MMPUs, and we ended up purchasing two of them,” he continued. “After we got them back to Nebraska and saw how well they were going to work, we went back and purchased four more.”

The trailers have a cooling unit and rails for hauling animals. They are 14-feet tall with 11-feet of space inside for carcasses. Winches inside the trailers are made to hoist the carcasses into the trailer.

The group worked with an engineer to design the MMPU. The trailers they purchased are 53 feet long, which will allow them more capacity than other finished MMPUs they have seen. They designed the MMPU with a cradle for dehiding, and an area with a saw, a sink, and workspace. The unit has a ramp in back for the work area.

It also has an on-board generator to run the lights and saws for cutting and processing. They also installed tanks to haul a 700 gallon water supply, which should be more than enough to last an entire day, Knopik said.

One special feature was the installation of two ozone water treatment units – one to purify the water for cleaning, and one so waste water can be dumped on site. “The water has to meet certain specifications so it can be used to clean an animal,” he said.

The MMPU has a cooler room with a capacity for 30 head of cattle. “We had to make sure is had good structural design to handle that much hanging weight,” Knopik explained. The cooler area has a door for side unloading. “A truck can pull up and remove carcasses without disturbing the people in the back cutting up the meat,” he added.

The trailer is also required to have a separate office area and restroom for the USDA inspector.

Since building the first MMPU, Knopik said they have had an opportunity to use it at a Kansas feedlot to butcher and process three animals. They have brought the unit back to Nebraska where they are working out the bugs before it receives USDA certification within the next five months.

Knopik said MMPUs can serve the same purpose as a standard processing plant, but will save a lot of money. “When we considered building our own plant, we found out that just the slaughtering part would cost around $200,000. That was not figuring anything for cutting or wrapping,” he said. “We figure if we can do this out on the farm with a mobile unit, we can avoid the zoning requirements of having it in town, and we will be able to move this unit around without having waste disposal concerns.”

Knopik said the first trailer cost nearly $170,000 to convert into a MMPU, but he anticipates the other trailers to cost less than $150,000, once they work out the bugs and develop a final design.

The group also determined the MMPU will cost $500-$600 to operate each day, but will have a capacity to process nine to 10 beef or buffalo, 24 hogs, or 40 sheep. “We think the unit will run most efficiently if it can make one stop per day,” he said. “We may need to think about setting up sites with pens and a chute that can handle more than one farmer’s animals.

The most exciting part of the project, Knopik admits, is providing the smaller producers with additional marketing opportunities for their product. “Shorter distances to processing plants mean greater savings to customers wanting to purchase locally raised meats,” he said.

Livestock producers in rural areas of Nebraska may soon have better and closer access to meat processing facilities thanks to a mobile meat processing unit that has been built, and is currently awaiting USDA approval.

Jim Knopik of Belgrade, NE, is a member of the team instrumental in purchasing and building the mobile meat processing trailer. Knopik is a member of the Nebraska Environmental Action Coalition (NEAC) and the North Star Neighbors. The two groups share a common goal of finding ways to bring the profitability back into small Nebraska farms and ranches.

“Infrastructure for most small farmers to direct market or even process their own food is nearly non-existent in a large portion of Nebraska,” Knopik said. “There are only a few USDA-inspected plants and lockers available for direct marketing, and most of those are in the eastern part of the state,” he explained.

Knopik explained how difficult it is to compete in the marketplace with substantial expenses associated with traveling to approved meat packing facilities that are located far from the farm. Knopik said he has to travel 60 miles one way to find a USDA-approved slaughter plant for his naturally-raised beef. “We have to travel to the plant three times – once to deliver the beef, once to pick up the meat, and a third time to pick up the smoked portions of the beef.”

Knopik said the amount of travel costs involved in processing and packaging the beef make it difficult to compete in the marketplace, especially since they only raise a small number of beef for processing. “Processing facilities that are closer to where the food is raised would increase competition in the marketplace, not only in quality, but in price, too,” he explained.

When the NEAC was formed five years ago, Knopik said the group was looking for a project they could undertake that would help the small producers be more competitive and sustainable. They came up with animal processing because it is an infrastructure that has been lost, and replaced by the consolidation of the meat processing companies. “We felt like the larger plants we have in this state make the producers do all the work and take all the risks to bring animals to them in one consolidated area, Knopik said. “We wanted to create a mobile meat processing unit (MMPU) that would help producers reduce their shipping costs and the time they spend on the road.”

Before undertaking the venture, members of the group traveled to South Dakota to visit a current MMPU on a South Dakota Indian Reservation. “We found that after watching the process, it is a very humane way of slaughtering an animal,” he explained. “A buffalo was chosen from the herd and hauled to the unit where the slaughter took place. Everything was just so calmly done that day, and flowed so well. It was the most humane way I’ve ever seen of harvesting animals.”

Knopik said when an MMPU is used, a USDA inspector has to be present while the slaughter is taking place.

After touring the facility and seeing their operation, the group decided developing a MMPU was something they wanted to pursue in Nebraska. “We have several people in Nebraska who are interested in direct marketing,” Knopik said. “We wanted to build this unit as cheaply as possible. After researching MMPUs, we found that we should be able to build a unit for around $150,000,” he explained. “Fortunately, one of our committee members found trailers that would work well for MMPUs, and we ended up purchasing two of them,” he continued. “After we got them back to Nebraska and saw how well they were going to work, we went back and purchased four more.”

The trailers have a cooling unit and rails for hauling animals. They are 14-feet tall with 11-feet of space inside for carcasses. Winches inside the trailers are made to hoist the carcasses into the trailer.

The group worked with an engineer to design the MMPU. The trailers they purchased are 53 feet long, which will allow them more capacity than other finished MMPUs they have seen. They designed the MMPU with a cradle for dehiding, and an area with a saw, a sink, and workspace. The unit has a ramp in back for the work area.

It also has an on-board generator to run the lights and saws for cutting and processing. They also installed tanks to haul a 700 gallon water supply, which should be more than enough to last an entire day, Knopik said.

One special feature was the installation of two ozone water treatment units – one to purify the water for cleaning, and one so waste water can be dumped on site. “The water has to meet certain specifications so it can be used to clean an animal,” he said.

The MMPU has a cooler room with a capacity for 30 head of cattle. “We had to make sure is had good structural design to handle that much hanging weight,” Knopik explained. The cooler area has a door for side unloading. “A truck can pull up and remove carcasses without disturbing the people in the back cutting up the meat,” he added.

The trailer is also required to have a separate office area and restroom for the USDA inspector.

Since building the first MMPU, Knopik said they have had an opportunity to use it at a Kansas feedlot to butcher and process three animals. They have brought the unit back to Nebraska where they are working out the bugs before it receives USDA certification within the next five months.

Knopik said MMPUs can serve the same purpose as a standard processing plant, but will save a lot of money. “When we considered building our own plant, we found out that just the slaughtering part would cost around $200,000. That was not figuring anything for cutting or wrapping,” he said. “We figure if we can do this out on the farm with a mobile unit, we can avoid the zoning requirements of having it in town, and we will be able to move this unit around without having waste disposal concerns.”

Knopik said the first trailer cost nearly $170,000 to convert into a MMPU, but he anticipates the other trailers to cost less than $150,000, once they work out the bugs and develop a final design.

The group also determined the MMPU will cost $500-$600 to operate each day, but will have a capacity to process nine to 10 beef or buffalo, 24 hogs, or 40 sheep. “We think the unit will run most efficiently if it can make one stop per day,” he said. “We may need to think about setting up sites with pens and a chute that can handle more than one farmer’s animals.

The most exciting part of the project, Knopik admits, is providing the smaller producers with additional marketing opportunities for their product. “Shorter distances to processing plants mean greater savings to customers wanting to purchase locally raised meats,” he said.

Livestock producers in rural areas of Nebraska may soon have better and closer access to meat processing facilities thanks to a mobile meat processing unit that has been built, and is currently awaiting USDA approval.

Jim Knopik of Belgrade, NE, is a member of the team instrumental in purchasing and building the mobile meat processing trailer. Knopik is a member of the Nebraska Environmental Action Coalition (NEAC) and the North Star Neighbors. The two groups share a common goal of finding ways to bring the profitability back into small Nebraska farms and ranches.

“Infrastructure for most small farmers to direct market or even process their own food is nearly non-existent in a large portion of Nebraska,” Knopik said. “There are only a few USDA-inspected plants and lockers available for direct marketing, and most of those are in the eastern part of the state,” he explained.

Knopik explained how difficult it is to compete in the marketplace with substantial expenses associated with traveling to approved meat packing facilities that are located far from the farm. Knopik said he has to travel 60 miles one way to find a USDA-approved slaughter plant for his naturally-raised beef. “We have to travel to the plant three times – once to deliver the beef, once to pick up the meat, and a third time to pick up the smoked portions of the beef.”

Knopik said the amount of travel costs involved in processing and packaging the beef make it difficult to compete in the marketplace, especially since they only raise a small number of beef for processing. “Processing facilities that are closer to where the food is raised would increase competition in the marketplace, not only in quality, but in price, too,” he explained.

When the NEAC was formed five years ago, Knopik said the group was looking for a project they could undertake that would help the small producers be more competitive and sustainable. They came up with animal processing because it is an infrastructure that has been lost, and replaced by the consolidation of the meat processing companies. “We felt like the larger plants we have in this state make the producers do all the work and take all the risks to bring animals to them in one consolidated area, Knopik said. “We wanted to create a mobile meat processing unit (MMPU) that would help producers reduce their shipping costs and the time they spend on the road.”

Before undertaking the venture, members of the group traveled to South Dakota to visit a current MMPU on a South Dakota Indian Reservation. “We found that after watching the process, it is a very humane way of slaughtering an animal,” he explained. “A buffalo was chosen from the herd and hauled to the unit where the slaughter took place. Everything was just so calmly done that day, and flowed so well. It was the most humane way I’ve ever seen of harvesting animals.”

Knopik said when an MMPU is used, a USDA inspector has to be present while the slaughter is taking place.

After touring the facility and seeing their operation, the group decided developing a MMPU was something they wanted to pursue in Nebraska. “We have several people in Nebraska who are interested in direct marketing,” Knopik said. “We wanted to build this unit as cheaply as possible. After researching MMPUs, we found that we should be able to build a unit for around $150,000,” he explained. “Fortunately, one of our committee members found trailers that would work well for MMPUs, and we ended up purchasing two of them,” he continued. “After we got them back to Nebraska and saw how well they were going to work, we went back and purchased four more.”

The trailers have a cooling unit and rails for hauling animals. They are 14-feet tall with 11-feet of space inside for carcasses. Winches inside the trailers are made to hoist the carcasses into the trailer.

The group worked with an engineer to design the MMPU. The trailers they purchased are 53 feet long, which will allow them more capacity than other finished MMPUs they have seen. They designed the MMPU with a cradle for dehiding, and an area with a saw, a sink, and workspace. The unit has a ramp in back for the work area.

It also has an on-board generator to run the lights and saws for cutting and processing. They also installed tanks to haul a 700 gallon water supply, which should be more than enough to last an entire day, Knopik said.

One special feature was the installation of two ozone water treatment units – one to purify the water for cleaning, and one so waste water can be dumped on site. “The water has to meet certain specifications so it can be used to clean an animal,” he said.

The MMPU has a cooler room with a capacity for 30 head of cattle. “We had to make sure is had good structural design to handle that much hanging weight,” Knopik explained. The cooler area has a door for side unloading. “A truck can pull up and remove carcasses without disturbing the people in the back cutting up the meat,” he added.

The trailer is also required to have a separate office area and restroom for the USDA inspector.

Since building the first MMPU, Knopik said they have had an opportunity to use it at a Kansas feedlot to butcher and process three animals. They have brought the unit back to Nebraska where they are working out the bugs before it receives USDA certification within the next five months.

Knopik said MMPUs can serve the same purpose as a standard processing plant, but will save a lot of money. “When we considered building our own plant, we found out that just the slaughtering part would cost around $200,000. That was not figuring anything for cutting or wrapping,” he said. “We figure if we can do this out on the farm with a mobile unit, we can avoid the zoning requirements of having it in town, and we will be able to move this unit around without having waste disposal concerns.”

Knopik said the first trailer cost nearly $170,000 to convert into a MMPU, but he anticipates the other trailers to cost less than $150,000, once they work out the bugs and develop a final design.

The group also determined the MMPU will cost $500-$600 to operate each day, but will have a capacity to process nine to 10 beef or buffalo, 24 hogs, or 40 sheep. “We think the unit will run most efficiently if it can make one stop per day,” he said. “We may need to think about setting up sites with pens and a chute that can handle more than one farmer’s animals.

The most exciting part of the project, Knopik admits, is providing the smaller producers with additional marketing opportunities for their product. “Shorter distances to processing plants mean greater savings to customers wanting to purchase locally raised meats,” he said.

Livestock producers in rural areas of Nebraska may soon have better and closer access to meat processing facilities thanks to a mobile meat processing unit that has been built, and is currently awaiting USDA approval.

Jim Knopik of Belgrade, NE, is a member of the team instrumental in purchasing and building the mobile meat processing trailer. Knopik is a member of the Nebraska Environmental Action Coalition (NEAC) and the North Star Neighbors. The two groups share a common goal of finding ways to bring the profitability back into small Nebraska farms and ranches.

“Infrastructure for most small farmers to direct market or even process their own food is nearly non-existent in a large portion of Nebraska,” Knopik said. “There are only a few USDA-inspected plants and lockers available for direct marketing, and most of those are in the eastern part of the state,” he explained.

Knopik explained how difficult it is to compete in the marketplace with substantial expenses associated with traveling to approved meat packing facilities that are located far from the farm. Knopik said he has to travel 60 miles one way to find a USDA-approved slaughter plant for his naturally-raised beef. “We have to travel to the plant three times – once to deliver the beef, once to pick up the meat, and a third time to pick up the smoked portions of the beef.”

Knopik said the amount of travel costs involved in processing and packaging the beef make it difficult to compete in the marketplace, especially since they only raise a small number of beef for processing. “Processing facilities that are closer to where the food is raised would increase competition in the marketplace, not only in quality, but in price, too,” he explained.

When the NEAC was formed five years ago, Knopik said the group was looking for a project they could undertake that would help the small producers be more competitive and sustainable. They came up with animal processing because it is an infrastructure that has been lost, and replaced by the consolidation of the meat processing companies. “We felt like the larger plants we have in this state make the producers do all the work and take all the risks to bring animals to them in one consolidated area, Knopik said. “We wanted to create a mobile meat processing unit (MMPU) that would help producers reduce their shipping costs and the time they spend on the road.”

Before undertaking the venture, members of the group traveled to South Dakota to visit a current MMPU on a South Dakota Indian Reservation. “We found that after watching the process, it is a very humane way of slaughtering an animal,” he explained. “A buffalo was chosen from the herd and hauled to the unit where the slaughter took place. Everything was just so calmly done that day, and flowed so well. It was the most humane way I’ve ever seen of harvesting animals.”

Knopik said when an MMPU is used, a USDA inspector has to be present while the slaughter is taking place.

After touring the facility and seeing their operation, the group decided developing a MMPU was something they wanted to pursue in Nebraska. “We have several people in Nebraska who are interested in direct marketing,” Knopik said. “We wanted to build this unit as cheaply as possible. After researching MMPUs, we found that we should be able to build a unit for around $150,000,” he explained. “Fortunately, one of our committee members found trailers that would work well for MMPUs, and we ended up purchasing two of them,” he continued. “After we got them back to Nebraska and saw how well they were going to work, we went back and purchased four more.”

The trailers have a cooling unit and rails for hauling animals. They are 14-feet tall with 11-feet of space inside for carcasses. Winches inside the trailers are made to hoist the carcasses into the trailer.

The group worked with an engineer to design the MMPU. The trailers they purchased are 53 feet long, which will allow them more capacity than other finished MMPUs they have seen. They designed the MMPU with a cradle for dehiding, and an area with a saw, a sink, and workspace. The unit has a ramp in back for the work area.

It also has an on-board generator to run the lights and saws for cutting and processing. They also installed tanks to haul a 700 gallon water supply, which should be more than enough to last an entire day, Knopik said.

One special feature was the installation of two ozone water treatment units – one to purify the water for cleaning, and one so waste water can be dumped on site. “The water has to meet certain specifications so it can be used to clean an animal,” he said.

The MMPU has a cooler room with a capacity for 30 head of cattle. “We had to make sure is had good structural design to handle that much hanging weight,” Knopik explained. The cooler area has a door for side unloading. “A truck can pull up and remove carcasses without disturbing the people in the back cutting up the meat,” he added.

The trailer is also required to have a separate office area and restroom for the USDA inspector.

Since building the first MMPU, Knopik said they have had an opportunity to use it at a Kansas feedlot to butcher and process three animals. They have brought the unit back to Nebraska where they are working out the bugs before it receives USDA certification within the next five months.

Knopik said MMPUs can serve the same purpose as a standard processing plant, but will save a lot of money. “When we considered building our own plant, we found out that just the slaughtering part would cost around $200,000. That was not figuring anything for cutting or wrapping,” he said. “We figure if we can do this out on the farm with a mobile unit, we can avoid the zoning requirements of having it in town, and we will be able to move this unit around without having waste disposal concerns.”

Knopik said the first trailer cost nearly $170,000 to convert into a MMPU, but he anticipates the other trailers to cost less than $150,000, once they work out the bugs and develop a final design.

The group also determined the MMPU will cost $500-$600 to operate each day, but will have a capacity to process nine to 10 beef or buffalo, 24 hogs, or 40 sheep. “We think the unit will run most efficiently if it can make one stop per day,” he said. “We may need to think about setting up sites with pens and a chute that can handle more than one farmer’s animals.

The most exciting part of the project, Knopik admits, is providing the smaller producers with additional marketing opportunities for their product. “Shorter distances to processing plants mean greater savings to customers wanting to purchase locally raised meats,” he said.


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