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June 26. 2014 8:02PM

Milford farm opens processing facility for chickens, turkeys


Chickens and turkeys are raised humanely and in a clean environment at Lull Farm in Milford. (Kathleen Baglio Humphreys/Union Leader Correspondent)

MILFORD — Limited facilities and federal regulations prompted Lull Farm to build a poultry-processing plant on its 100-acre farm on Spaulding Lane.

“We raise 3,000 meat birds throughout the season plus 500 turkeys. We have fresh products every week,” said Kristen Bennett of Lull Farm.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture no longer allow spoultry to cross state lines for slaughtering anymore.

“We can’t have our animals slaughtered in Massachusetts, then sold retail in New Hampshire, so we decided to open our own slaughterhouse,” said Bennett.

They had used a facility in Groton, Mass.

Lull Farm’s facility is called Granite State Poultry and Processing and is run by Lionel Lavoie and Jennifer Bourlier.

“We started because there are so many people that want to raise backyard chickens. We raise them for our families. … Then there is no one around to process, so we started this,” said Bourlier.

More and more families are growing their own food and raising their own cattle, pigs and chickens, and with limited facilities in the state, more are needed.

“We talked to a USDA investigator who told us this area could handle two or three slaughterhouses because there are so many people who need them,” said Bourlier.

Granite State Poultry and Processing went from 50 customers to hundreds in a short amount of time.

“People raise their own chickens, and we hand them back a bird properly processed and wrapped ready for the freezer for $4.50. We want to make it affordable for people to raise their own food,” said Bourlier.

They built the facility with food safety in mind and according to USDA guidelines.

“People come in and say, ‘I can’t believe how clean the facility is.’ Indoors we use organic chemicals that take bacteria away while the birds are chilling,” said Bourlier.

Their USDA status is pending and will be approved after the required break room for employees and an office for the USDA inspector are completed.

What concerns Bourlier and Lavoie is the recent passage of House Bill 608, which would allow farmers working under a USDA exemption to process poultry on their own farm without USDA inspection but still able to sell a maximum 1,000 birds a year to restaurants.

For more information go to www.granitestatepoultry.com or call 554-5856.

khumphreys@newstote.com



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