The Oregon House has passed House Bill 2872A, which creates an exemption for farmers allowing them to butcher and process fewer than 1,000 of their own poultry without an inspection.
Under the current state law, farmers must process birds in a state-sanctioned facility built on their farm or take the poultry to a federally inspected plant. If the bill passes in the Senate and is signed into law by Oregon's governor, farmers would be saved the expense of traveling to the single approved processing plant in the area, as well as a $5.50-per-head processing fee, or the cost of building their own facility, which comes to roughly $70,000.
The bill stipulates that the birds butchered must be raised on the farm and sold directly to customers, either on-site, through meat-buying clubs or at farmers markets. "It is putting into statute an honor system," said Vance Bybee, head of food safety at the Oregon Department of Agriculture. "They are still expected to follow all the standards and mandates."