USA-made beef harvesting units offer solutions
A company called Friesla, of Everson, Washington, and others like them are offering a solution to the bottleneck in custom-slaughter needs.
Friesla offers a full setup slaughter module –-going from a live animal at one end to wrapped, retail cuts at the other end. Individual modules add to the flexibility of the setup. According to their website, Friesla’s USDA-approved Meat Harvest Units are self-contained slaughterhouses — in a mobile or modular format — that can be transported to your farm or ranch to harvest animals onsite.
Prior to the pandemic, the reduced number of processing plants was already a problem-–farmers and ranchers could not always get their animals processed in a timely fashion, and the “big four” more or less had control over the purse strings that came back to the producers.
Then the pandemic hit and things went from bad to worse, including some plants slowing down significantly.
Even though more farmers and ranchers had gotten into selling directly to consumers, the bottleneck still existed, and in some cases had gotten worse, for getting animals custom-processed.
This is where mobile slaughter units can help.
Once a customer decides they are interested in the full setup, The process starts with a “zoom” or “Google” call. After the initial details are worked out: be it an outright purchase; financing, which Friesla can help with; leasing through a third party; and if used units will be available, then “The Team” gets into gear:
*The Design and Engineering Team develops the concept.
*The Project Management Team “maintains the project’s course through manufacturing, quality control and delivery” to the site.
*The Meat Process Engineer assists with the equipment setup, implementing the traceability hardware and software, training personnel, or auditing the customer’s existing operation.
*The Compliance Consultant. In this case Dr. Greg Sherman, who has 27 years of experience as a supervisory inspector with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)-Hazard Analysis Critical Control Plan (HACCP), applies for the customer’s Grant of Inspection, which is a precursor to the USDA’s certification.
The modules come in three sizes: 75 head/week, 150 head/week and 225 head/week. When starting with one of the smaller full setups and you need to expand, just add more modules. No remodeling or brick and mortar additions. Plus, the units can be readily moved to accommodate expansion to a more desirable location.
All of the units and equipment are manufactured in the U.S.A. The shells of the modules and mobile units are manufactured by Trivan Truck Body. The equipment that goes into the modules and mobile units comes from carefully screened suppliers Friesla is a distributor for. All of Friesla’s setups are USDA compliant, having been found by the USDA to be “modern, bright and easy to clean.”
With the modules and mobile units, advice and help is just a phone call away.
Keep in mind, Friesla is not the only company offering a solution to an ever increasing problem, but they, along with the others, as Bob Lodder says, are beginning “to create a global network of strong, sustainable ecosystems in which independent farmers raise, process and deliver premium meat direct to our local communities.”
The desire to help farmers and ranchers get their products to market and eventually consumers’ tables is inherited in Friesla’s Bob Lodder from his grandfather. In the 1940s, Cornelius Walinga built wagons so his neighbors in Friesland, Northern Netherlands, could get their products to the markets so consumers could have a selection of quality foods to be put on their tables.
Fast forward some 70 years, and with the decrease in processing facilities from 10,000 in the 1960s to less than 2,800 today, Bob Lodder is on a mission to bring those numbers back up so producers can get their animals processed in a convenient and timely fashion, as well as make a respectable return on their investment. This would also allow consumers to get the type and cut of meat they want at a reasonable price; plus know where their meat comes from.
Bob Lodder’s mission came about as a result of ten years of work experience. He worked in the “design and market development” of the mobile harvest units Trivan Truck Body, LLC, of Ferndale, Washington, manufactured. During that time Lodder talked about such units with processors and ranchers from all over the country. Once his ideas were put on paper, Lodder then consulted with engineers and professional butchers and processing people to come up with a viable, working model someone could just turn on the lights and power and be in business.
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