With Unique Attributes and a Plan to Rotate to Several Docking Locations throughout the Hudson Valley, the MHS is poised to dramatically benefit small to mid-size livestock farmers, their communities and the growing number of consumers who demand access to locally-raised meat.
Glynwood, a non-profit organization in the Hudson Valley whose mission is to save farming, along with its affiliate Local Infrastructure for Local Agriculture [LILA], have launched a mobile, modular slaughterhouse that is the first of its kind. Currently docked in Delaware County, NY, the Modular Harvest System [MHS](TM) is an innovative, next-generation approach to the humane slaughter of livestock.
'We believe that the MHS will help ensure the future of livestock production in our region and beyond,' says Judy LaBelle, President of Glynwood. 'From the very beginning, Glynwood has envisioned the development of this unit to be a model for replication. We know there are other regions with situations very similar to the Hudson Valley, where a mobile unit might well be the catalyst for a revitalized system that will enable smaller farmers to reach the rapidly growing market for regional, pasture-raised meat products.'
Unique Qualities and Advantages of the Modular Harvest System(TM)
The MHS has an innovative design that includes four mobile modules that come together to form a processing facility; it is highly efficient with a daily processing capacity of 20 cattle (more for smaller animals). It can currently process cattle, sheep, and goats. In the future we hope to add a separate module for the processing of pigs. The MHS meets all USDA requirements, offering livestock farmers the certification necessary to reach the broadest possible markets in which to sell their products.
The MHS is the first mobile unit in the United States that has the capability for in-unit slaughter of large animals, enabling the entire process to be conducted indoors for safer, more sanitary processing. Its independent component system [see fact sheet below for additional details] enables an operational flexibility that can adapt to different docking site and municipal requirements, providing an added efficiency that can't be achieved in a single unit facility.
It is planned that the MHS will serve farmers through the Hudson Valley region by rotating among specially designed docking sites. The first docking site in Stamford, NY is operational, and Glynwood and LILA are working with agricultural stakeholders in communities throughout the Hudson Valley, Massachusetts and Connecticut to identify and select additional locations. The organizations hope to identify three additional docking sites by the end of 2010 and to implement five docking sites throughout the region within two years.
'The lowest profit margin in the meat value chain is in the slaughter. Over the years this has contributed to the current shortage of facilities,' notes LILA President Joan Snyder. 'The design and mobility of the Modular Harvest System(TM) address many of the critical challenges associated with this step in the process and should enable farmers to bring their animals to market more efficiently and economically.'
Why Mobile Processing Facilities are Key to Accessing Quality, Local Meat
Over the past several years, there has been a rapidly growing demand in the Hudson Valley and the Northeast for locally grown, humanely processed meat. However, the acute shortage of USDA-licensed processing facilities in the region has made it difficult for producers to meet this demand, resulting in a diminished economic viability for livestock farmers. Dan Barber, Executive Chef at Blue Hill Stone Barns and local food advocate, has said that 'Slaughterhouses are the single most important thing that farmers in the region need. This initiative is the most important thing Glynwood can do.'
In 2008, in order to address the situation, Glynwood formed a Regional Slaughterhouse Task Force composed of leaders throughout the region whose expertise included farming, food distribution, the livestock industry, economic development, finance, and the law. Under Glynwood's leadership, the Task Force worked to conceive and design an effective response to this long-standing problem. The outcome of this work is the Modular Harvest System(TM).
About Glynwood and Local Infrastructure for Local Agriculture
Located in the lower Hudson Valley, Glynwood is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help communities save farming. Glynwood's unique niche is to empower communities to support farming and conserve farmland, while also working their own 225-acre Glynwood Farm to demonstrate the economic viability of environmentally sustainable agriculture.
Glynwood created the non-profit affiliate called Local Infrastructure for Local Agriculture [LILA] to be the non-profit owner of the Modular Harvest System(TM) and to oversee the operations of the MHS at each docking location. In addition to these responsibilities, LILA will provide education and training to producers and the community to enhance the quality and viability of livestock and other local agriculture in the Northeast.