The Bulletin Board

Loans could help alleviate New Hampshire’s slaughterhouse shortage, report finds

By: - November 5, 2021 3:18 pm
chickens on farm

New Hampshire farmers have to take their birds as far away as New Jersey for slaughter because the state doesn’t have a USDA inspected slaughter facility for poultry. Getty Images.

New Hampshire has a big shortage of slaughterhouses.

When it comes to red meat, there are only four USDA inspected slaughterhouses in the state, which means that farmers are having to book a slaughter date anywhere from 18 to 24 months ahead of time, according to a legislative report released this month.

 The situation for poultry isn’t better, without a single USDA inspected slaughter facility in New Hampshire. This means some farmers are traveling with their birds as far as New Jersey to go to slaughter, the report found. The problem existed before the pandemic, although COVID-19 made it more acute, as the demand for local meat surged.

The authors of the report recommended the Legislature act on this problem by establishing business loans for agricultural producers and processors. Those loans could be managed by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority. Making money available to cover expensive startup costs could help increase the number of slaughter facilities, processing facilities, and cold storage facilities.

“One area where the State may be able to provide assistance is in helping new ventures get over the initial capital funding barrier to setting up a facility,” according to the report.

This sort of loan program would be aimed to help farmers who are raising poultry like chicken and turkeys, as well as the main red meat animals, like beef cattle, swine, sheep, and goats.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s energy and environment reporter. She previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.