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Pittsboro chicken plant is vital resource for small farmers

By Jeannette Beranger
Posted Monday, August 13, 2007

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Pittsboro, NC - Regarding the chicken plant in Pittsboro, if the plant that is being referred to is the JBF Processing plant on Jay Shambly road, then folks need to know a few things about poultry processing. First, this plant is an extremely rare commodity in the farming community on a nation wide level. Lack of access to processing is often the reason there are entire regions in the US where farmers can't think of raising poultry to market. (What, a farmer can't raise a chicken?)

Not too many folks outside of the farming community realize that it's not a simple thing for a farmer to raise and market poultry outside of them becoming a commercial producer that uses large houses for their birds. Unless you are an industrial farm, it's not so easy.

The processing plant is a vital link for small farmers in the region who want to raise and market USDA inspected poultry to the public. It is the only USDA inspected plant in the entire state of North Carolina and is the only current option for independent producers since the large corporate plants will not take any poultry from small farmers. Poultry processing is a huge problem for farmers as the remaining independent plants in the US slowly get squeezed out of existence by the industry and only large indoor
commercial chicken houses become the consumer's only option for poultry products.

People come incredibly long distances to use the facility and without it, most of us who enjoy locally raised birds that are USDA inspected will be out of luck. In recent years the plant has been taken over by new owners and they have gone to great lengths to keep it open and to improve the facility so that cleanliness and food safety will be optimal and thus any smell from the operation will be minimal. Anyone who visited the plant several years ago before the renovations will attest to the less than desirable odor
present then. They have come a long way and continue to spend a good amount of money to continue to improve the plant and continue to serve the community.

Food for thought - Try smelling the commercial poultry processing plant in Siler City on a hot afternoon some time and then tell me the small independent plant smells bad.

If the new homeowners in the area of the small plant didn't realize it was there, then they should have done a better job at researching their surroundings before committing to living in "farm country." Chatham County is largely farm country and we should celebrate that, not stifle it with the complaints of newcomers that want to change Pittsboro into the next Apex or Cary. Next are they going to complain that nearby cows "moo" too much or there's too much dust is in the air when folks cut and bale their hay?

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Pittsboro chicken plant is vital resource for small farmers
The Pittsboro chicken processing plant is the only USDA inspected plant in the entire state of North Carolina.