Alison Kosakowski, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, 802-828-2179
Thursday, January 26, 2012
MONTPELIER, Vermont – Jan. 26, 2012: The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets announced today that the Mobile Poultry Processing Unit has been sold to Lila Bennett and David Robb of Tangletown Farm in Middlesex. The unit was sold via an online auction site, and after a competitive bidding process, the final sale price was $61,000.
"Animal welfare is at the heart of Tangletown Farm. This unit will allow us to expand our business, to maintain our high standards of quality, and to play a larger role in Vermont agriculture,” said Lila Bennett. “With this unit we will be able to humanely slaughter, part, and package chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, and eventually lambs under the watchful eye of a Vermont state inspector.”
As the new owners, Bennett and Robb are in the process creating a plan for how the unit will be used going forward.
“The Vermont Farm Viability Enhancement Program is helping us develop a long-term, working plan that will allow other small Vermont farms to utilize the mobile processing unit,” said David Robb. “We are pleased to have played a hand in keeping this facility in state."
Designed and built in 2008 with a $93,000 investment from the Vermont Legislature and the Castanea Foundation, the mobile unit is first of its kind for farmers to process poultry under state inspection right on the farm. Since it first went on the road in 2009, over 30 farmers have benefited from its services, and it has played an integral role in increasing the availability of local meat at farmers’ markets, CSAs, and retail stores. The mobile unit was offered for sale after the original operator chose not to renew his lease.
“Our Agency is committed to not only reinvesting these funds into the development of additional infrastructure to support Vermont's growing, value-added meat industry, but also to leverage other public and private sector funds in order to access new market opportunities,” said Chuck Ross, Secretary of the Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets. “We were searching for an entrepreneur to take the reigns with the unit, and Tangletown Farm is exactly the sort of business we hoped would step up. This is a great example of how public funding can prime the pump for the private sector,” said Ross.
According to Ross, the mobile poultry unit was a good investment for Vermont agriculture.
“We are pleased with the selling price of $61,000. The unit is three years old, and like all equipment, it has depreciated from its original value. Given that the unit was leased for three seasons years prior to this auction, the economics make sense. The unit did what we intended it to do -- it created new markets for Vermont poultry producers and helped grow our agricultural economy.”