Wisconsin accounts for over 6,600 chickens, 54,000 broilers, and 1,600,000 eggs. Together with turkey, poultry farmers’ 2017 cash receipts came to over 250,000,000 total. Yet, a cooperative hadn’t ever formed. Until now. Bobbi Jo talked with the woman spearheading the Driftless Poultry Processing Cooperative, Jen Riemer.
When asked why she felt there was a need, Jen answered, “There’s really only one option in the region, and we really wanted more options and a place that could do some value-added products. There’s really no place for people to take water fowl and rabbits or to get boneless, skinless cuts, that sort of thing.”
The group of farmers met with some extension agents to get the ball rolling. They applied for a USDA Value-Added Producer Grant to conduct a feasibility study, doing surveys and holding farmer meetings to gauge their needs. Jen said they feel pretty confident about what farmers want, but are still seeking input.
This co-op will be at a processing plant, which is a little different from the norm. It will also be very member-involved. Jen said they want the farmers involved to be fully invested, and those who are involved already seem eager. The team consists of 6 core leaders, a couple extension agents, and 80 producers on the list serve staying updated. You can email Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org to get added to the list serve.