Oregon’s 1000 Bird Exemption: Rules and Best Practices

Author: Lauren Gwin, Small Farms Program, Oregon State University

Publish Date: Spring 12

You may recall that in the 2011 legislative session, the Oregon state legislature passed a law creating a new direct-market opportunity for small poultry producers. The law, HB2872, commonly known as “the Poultry Bill” is modeled after the federal producer-grower 1000 bird exemption in the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). At long last, the administrative rules are (essentially) final, and an FAQ about them is posted on the Oregon Department of Agriculture website: http:// www.oregon.gov/ODA/FSD/faq_2872.shtml

The Oregon Administrative Rules for HB2872 created two different exemptions: the Farmers’ Market Exemption and the On-Farm Sale Exemption. Under the On-Farm Sale Exemption, Oregon farmers may slaughter up to 1000 poultry per year that they raise themselves on their farms, from eggs or chicks less than two weeks old, to sell direct to household consumers. Their processing set-up does not have to meet the building and sanitation requirements of a state-licensed poultry processing facility. Poultry must be “reasonably” protected from contamination. A combination of floor mats, tarps, and canopies should suffice. Customers must come to the farm to buy the poultry, which can be fresh or frozen.

The Farmers’ Market Exemption distinguishes on-farm sales from off-farm sales. If a farmer wishes to sell direct to consumers in an off-farm setting, such as a farmers’ market or a CSA delivery, he must process in a facility that meets the poultry processing buildings and facilities requirements (ORS 619.026 and OAR 603-028-0100). However, he is not required to purchase a license.

As ODA explains in their FAQ, “Limiting sales of poultry processed under minimal building and facilities gives consumers some capacity to assess sanitation, building and facilities themselves when they purchase poultry.”

We have written a guidebook to help farmers assure they are processing in sanitary conditions and selling their customers safe, healthy poultry. “A Best Practices Guide to Open-Air Poultry Slaughter” includes:

  • Suggested sanitation practices for the process­ing site, water, personal hygiene, equipment, and packaging;
  • Pathogen control techniques, including an anti-microbial spray step;
  • Monitoring and recordkeeping guidance;
  • Rules and recommendations for disposal of waste water and offal;
  • A list of other useful resources about small-scale/on-farm poultry processing.

Some of the advice may sound like common sense. Yet the consequences of carelessness can be high: contaminated poultry, sick consumers, personal/farm liability, penalties for environmental damage, and so forth. Other suggestions may be new to you. All farmers should take the time to come up with a plan that they can and will carry out every day they process poultry.

The guide is available on the OSU Small Farm Program website, http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/ under Technical Reports entitled: A Best Practices Guide to Open Air Poultry Slaughter & Meat and Poultry Processing Regulations in Oregon- A Short Guide.