New Meat Processing Options in Eastern Oregon

Kathryn Quanbeck, Program Manager, Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network
Publish Date: 
Summer 2016
VolNo: 
Vol. XI No. 3

Hawkins Sisters Ranch processing building - under constuction. Photo provided by Kathyrn QuanbeckEastern Oregon will soon have two new meat processing options. Hawkins Sisters Ranch will be opening a poultry processing facility in Wallowa, and Hines Meat Co. will open soon for red meat processing in La Grande.

Mary Hawkins of Hawkins Sisters Ranch raises pastured poultry and soon will be processing her own poultry on-farm, as well as offering processing services to other producers. “We’ll raise around 1,200 birds this year and we’d like to do around 6,000 – 8,000 birds per year to start,” says Mary, with the remaining birds coming from other local producers. Processing fees are likely to be around $4/bird for whole broilers.

The ranch recently purchased an “Old Hickory” brand pre-fabricated shed and is turning that into a small poultry processing facility that will operate under the 20,000 bird exemption. Under the exemption, a producer “may purchase live birds raised by other producers, process them, and sell those birds back to the producers, who can then act as distributors.” (OSU Small Farms Guide). The processing facility will operate seasonally, May – November, processing chickens and some turkeys.

Mary sees an opportunity for her business and others to grow with increased access to processing. The facility is still under construction, but they aim to be up and running in July 2016.

The cutting room at Hines Meat Co. Photo provided by Kathryn Quanbeck.Jake Hines is putting the final touches on his red meat processing facility and retail butcher shop, Hines Meat Company, in La Grande. The facility will offer slaughter and processing for all four-legged species: cattle, hogs, lambs and goats. There will also be a retail butcher shop and deli, selling local meats when possible.

The facility will start out operating under custom-exempt inspection with the intention of transitioning to USDA-inspection in a few months. Much of the facility is brand new with space to process at least 8 to 10 head of beef a day and hang and age much more than that. The facility has a cutting room and smokehouse and significant freezer capacity. The retail shop will sell cured and smoked meats, deli meats and sandwiches.

Jake looks forward to offering processing services to the local farming and ranching community – stop on by for a visit!