I’d had the chance to read an article published by CFSA about getting inspected to process chickens on farm under North Carolina’s farmer exemption. We get requests routinely for pasture raised chicken and have to turn people away because we don’t have any chicken beyond what we produce for ourselves and we haven’t been inspected for selling it yet.
Well yesterday we had a very nice man from NCDA come out and perform not only a chicken processing inspection but a meat handlers inspection as well. The entire process was very informative and very similar to how it was described in the article mentioned above. Turns out, the inspector was the same fellow who had worked with the farmer in the article and he was more than willing to spend time educating us on best practices and helping us through the regulatory process which turns out isn’t too bad at all. I’d avoided asking anyone from the government onto our farm for some time because I didn’t want the hassle or the trouble that can sometimes be associated with them. However after working with Wake County Soil and Water for the past few years, I’ve learned that our local government people are very encouraging of farmers and truly do want to help us and see us succeed. It doesn’t mean we don’t have to dot our Is and cross our Ts, but everything was straight forward and easy enough to handle. There certainly weren’t any gotchas in the process.
In hindsight I wish I had called the inspector in sooner, I’d have saved myself a lot of reading and worrying over things that in the end weren’t a big deal and didn’t apply to us anyway. The inspection is free and low stress. If you have not had your inspections performed, I recommend you reach out to the NCDA and get one set up.