Mobile poultry processing has legs

“You want to do WHAT?”
That’s a common response when one starts explaining the merits of using a mobile poultry processing unit (MPPU). And at first blush, the notion of a roving chicken processing facility does sound a bit unusual. Yet one is already up and running in Massachusetts, owned by the New England Small Farm Institute and co-managed by New Entry, and a surge in enthusiasm from small poultry producers is lending credence to NESFI and New Entry’s ongoing efforts to build a second unit.
On Jan. 28, part one of the MPPU training program for 2010 drew over 40 interested producers. A number of state regulators, some of whom gave presentations during the workshop, participated as well.
Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture Scott Soares kicked off the event. Other speakers included Dr. George Sapperstein of the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine (which hosted the event); Kim Foley of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health; Catherine Skiba and Sumner Martinson of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; Ed Hageman of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources; and New Entry’s own Jennifer Hashley and Sam Anderson.
The workshop focused on the regulatory and licensing requirements for renting an MPPU in Massachusetts, as well as rental policies, scheduling, and feasibility for producers. The entire workshop will be available online for free next week.
In the meantime, local poultry enthusiasts can learn more about our MPPU training here:
http://nesfp.nutrition.tufts.edu/resources/mobilepoultrytraining.html
… or if you’re so inclined, check out New Entry’s livestock-oriented tweets:
http://twitter.com/LetThemEatGrass
And as always, there’s our regular Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/newentry) and our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=105352129232&ref=ts).
Stay tuned as this project progresses – we’ll keep you posted!

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Mobile Poultry Processing Unit training

If you’re interested in growing and selling poultry for meat in Massachusetts, we can help! This year’s first workshop on how to use a mobile poultry processing unit (MPPU) in Massachusetts will be January 28th in North Grafton. See below for details:
Mobile Poultry Processing Unit Training – Part 1:Applying for a State Slaughter License to use MPPU
Training Partners include: New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, New England Small Farm Institute, Mass Dept of Agricultural Resources, Mass Dept of Environmental Protection, and
Mass Dept of Public Health
DATE: Thursday, January 28th
TIME: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
LOCATION: Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Bernice Barbour Wildlife Medicine Building Conference Room
50 Willard Street, North Grafton, MA
MORE: $35 registration fee includes lunch and resource materials. If you don’t mind sharing resource materials, additional participants may attend for $15 each.
Pre-register before January 22nd by completing a registration form. Please make checks for $35 payable to: Community Teamwork, Inc. and return completed registration form to: New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, 9 Central Street, Suite 402, Lowell, MA 01852. You may also fax or email completed registration form to: nesfp@tufts.edu or 866-306-3941

This training is targeted to farmers who wish to commercially raise and sell poultry to direct markets. This workshop is Part 1 of a multi-phase training process for MPPU use. For farmers who complete their state slaughter license and local board of health application and approval process, additional hands-on training and demonstration of MPPU use and operations will be scheduled in Spring 2010.
For more information on the MPPU project, visit New Entry’s website.
Morning Training Session (9:30 – noon) Includes:
* Federal/State/Local Poultry Processing Regulations
* Sanitation and Food Safety Procedures
* Solid Waste and Wastewater Handling
* Flock Health Certification
* MPPU Slaughter License application process
* 2010 MPPU Fees and Rental Policy
* Equipment & on-farm infrastructure needed to process poultry
Lunch Break (provided) noon
Afternoon Training Session (12:30 – 3:30 pm) Includes:
* Humane processing steps
* Pre-MPPU arrival procedures
* MPPU installation and setup on farm
* Pre-process sanitation of MPPU
* HACCP Record-Keeping logs
* Composting waste and water
* Packaging and Labeling
* Post-Operations sanitation and record-keeping requirements
* Economics of Poultry Production and Processing
* Opportunities for Individual Technical Assistance in regulatory application process
For questions about this training or the MPPU project, please contact Jennifer Hashley or Sam Anderson, 978-654-6745 or by email at: jennifer.hashley@tufts.edu or sanderson@comteam.org

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Swine School available online

Last summer’s Swine School, held by New Entry and the Tufts Cummings School for Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, MA, is now available online in four parts:
http://www.dogooder.tv/Orgs/NESFP/default.aspx?MovieID=3454
http://www.dogooder.tv/Orgs/NESFP/default.aspx?MovieID=3453
http://www.dogooder.tv/Orgs/NESFP/default.aspx?MovieID=3451
http://www.dogooder.tv/Orgs/NESFP/default.aspx?MovieID=3448
… and it’s free! Thanks to John Dorman for putting all this together.

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Update: More hoophouse resources

Our Winter Hoophouse Workshop led by Adam Montri is now available online! See the videos here: http://www.dogooder.tv/Orgs/NESFP/default.aspx?MovieID=3409
Also, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced a new pilot project under the ‘Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food’ initiative for farmers to establish hoop houses to increase the availability of locally grown produce in a conservation-friendly way. Interested farmers should sign up by January 15, 2010.Read more at www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov/news/news_high_tunnel_pilot.html.

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Hoophouse workshop a hit

New Entry’s first Winter Growing and Hoophouse Workshop was a hands-down success, attracting 39 enthusiastic participants who left with a wealth of information about using hoophouses to grow vegetables in winter. The course was held at the Casey Family Services Conference Room in Lowell, and afterwards a group of participants carried on the conversation at New Entry’s offices down the street.
Adam Montri, a Michigan State University outreach specialist, led the workshop, presenting material and fielding questions on hoophouse site location, design, construction, cultivation and planting schedules, and a host of other topics related to winter production in hoophouses.
Participants took home resource packets. You can find more hoophouse resources online at Adam’s hoophouse blog (http://www.hoophouse.msu.edu/), a Kansas State site dedicated to hoophouses (http://www.hightunnels.org), or the year-round cropping schedule PDF available here.
Also, don’t forget to sign up for our Quickbooks Training (January 20th) and our Farm Taxes workshop – email nesfp@tufts.edu for details.
If you want to learn more about New Entry, join us on Facebook, Twitter or sign up for our mailing list.

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Staring down old man winter

The New England winter is around the corner with its short days and cold temperatures – not the ideal conditions for growing vegetables.
So what?
New Entry is offering three winter skills workshops to help growers extend the season and keep busy until spring. The first is coming up in just two weeks:
Winter Growing and Hoophouse Workshop
with Adam Montri, Michigan State University
TIME: 9 am – 1 pm
LOCATION: Casey Family Services Conference Room (18 Palmer Street), Downtown Lowell, MA
Topics will include:
- Structure Options and Selection – which hoophouse is right for me?
- Site Selection and Preparation
- Crop Selection, Scheduling, Harvesting, and Pricing
- … And lots of Q&A and crop profitability discussion.
The course costs $15, checks made payable to: Community Teamwork. To register, please email nesfp@tufts.edu.
Adam Montri is an outreach specialist in the Horticulture Department at Michigan State University where he coordinates outreach efforts for the MSU Student Organic Farm focused on hoophouses/high tunnels and sustainable and organic production and marketing with both urban and rural farmers across the state of MI. Adam was one of the original student organic farmers while an undergraduate at MSU. He received his master’s degree in Horticulture from Penn State University where he focused on organic high tunnel tomato production. He and his wife, Dru, and daughter, Lydia, own Ten Hens Farm in Bath, MI. Check out Adam’s Hoophouse Blog here: http://hoophouse.msu.edu/blog/index.php.
In other news: New Entry makes a triumphant return to Twitter! Follow us at http://twitter.com/NewEntry.

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Reaching New Audiences With Distance Learning

By their nature, local food systems are contained by geography – but no one said that rule need apply to information! New Entry’s offices are located in Eastern Massachusetts, but soon beginning farmers all over the world will be able to access expert training from New Entry. Several interactive distance learning opportunities are in the works at New Entry, including an online version of the Farm Business Planning course and a series of video field trainings.
John Dorman, New Entry’s Digital Media Specialist, is tackling the video projects. As part of his work with Americorps/VISTA, John is focusing on helping New Entry reach more people and expand educational capacity. The distance learning projects fit that description to a T.
The online version of New Entry’s Farm Business Planning course will consist of 7-8 weeks of highly interactive 1 ½-hour classes. Paralleling the traditional six-week course held twice every year in Lowell, the online course will include everything from ‘talking’ (and subtitled) PowerPoint presentations, dynamic spreadsheets, written input from students during the class, and live discussion sessions.
The distance learning package will also include video field trainings, free for any graduate of the traditional or online Farm Business Planning course. The first two video trainings – on irrigation and equipment – are nearing completion.
Stay tuned for more information on distance learning opportunities through New Entry.

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NESFP Farm Tour 2009 A Huge Success

On August 6, 2009, New Entry’s annual Farm Tour became our biggest public event ever. More than 100 visitors – ranging from World Peas CSA farm shareholders, other local agriculture producers, people interested in local sustainable agriculture, to curious neighbors – joined us at Richardson’s Dairy for an insider’s look at the New Entry fields and an introduction to our farmers.
The tour was led by New Entry staff, with personal experiences recounted by farmers currently involved in our training program, in order for visitors to understand the symbiotic relationship that exists here between the two groups.
To make the event even more special, food and refreshments were prepared and provided by Fresh Roots, a Lowell organization that focuses on empowering local youth with practical work experiences that revolve around sustainability and urban agriculture. The Fresh Roots team used fresh produce from our farmers to create an amazing summer spread.
If we didn’t see you on the 6th, we hope to see you at next year’s tour!



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Photos from Weed Management Training Session – At Last!

After a bit of technical confusion, the NESFP blog has photo capabilities once again! Here are some images of last month’s Weed Management Training course, which was a blog feature on July 10th. Various techniques were taught, including flame weeding, cultivating, and tilling.



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White House Garden Brings Local Agriculture to National Forefront

The importance of locally-grown produce is finally returning to the forefront of American consciousness, thanks in part to the new organic garden First Lady Michelle Obama has had planted at the White House. If you’re reading this blog, chances are that you already know about this garden, and are also well-aware of the benefits of sustainable agriculture. Still, I thought it would be nice to take a moment to acknowledge this action, which marks only the second time in history for such a feature to occupy the Presidential property – the first being Eleanor Roosevelt’s World War II victory garden.
The garden serves as both as a talking piece for the American public – with Obama admirers hopefully taking note of the First Lady’s decision, and starting to think about how they can incorporate gardening into their own lives – as well as an educational tool, as local schoolchildren helping to first dig and plant the garden, and are now returning to harvest the produce and learn about healthy eating by preparing the foods with the Obama’s chef in the White House kitchen.
In this era of industrial agriculture-induced environmental destruction, as well as nutrition-related chronic diseases that are ravaging the country, the First Lady should be commended for her efforts to illuminate how fresh produce, local agriculture, and organic practices are attainable means of working to combat these problems.
For more information about the White House garden, follow these links:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/20/dining/20garden.html
http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/food/2009/06/19/2009-06-19_first_lady_michelle_obamas_garden_growing_well_white_house_harvesting_plenty_of_.html
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/A-Healthy-Harvest/
Happy Gardening!!

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