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Survey respondents from central and western Massachusetts reported at least 730 cattle, 1,050 small ruminants, 210 hogs, and 3,060 poultry will go to slaughter this year.
This means that finding a way to butcher these animals would impact the viability of more farm businesses and landowners. Fifty to eighty-six percent of respondents who own cattle or small ruminants send one to ten animals (of any particular species) to slaughter every year. Forty-nine percent of respondents raise at least two species of animals.
Fifty-nine percent of survey respondents would expand their farms with better access to a reliable USDA-inspected facility, who would more than double their herds on average.
Shorter commutes mean better treatment for animals, higher quality meat, a smaller carbon footprint, and more viable farm businesses with lower fuel costs. Location was the most commonly noted quality desired in a new slaughter or processing facility, noted by 57% of respondents. Of those farmers, the largest pool (36%) resides in Franklin County.
Incentives and technical assistance might encourage growers to adjust their scheduling for low demand periods (e.g. mid-summer). For all species except for chickens and goats, the last quarter of the year is the busiest slaughter season. The high season for beef cattle slaughter (Oct-Dec) has 68% higher volume than summer (July-Sept).