Vermont now has a new commercial slaughterhouse in operation. “Over the Hill Farm” in Benson officially opened its doors on Saturday. The Rutland County facility is one of two coming on line this fall, and now brings the total number in the state to eleven.
Jason Aldous of Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture says the lack of livestock processing has been a chronic problem in Vermont for many years:
(Aldous) “About 100,000 animals are shipped out of the state each year to be slaughtered out of state. And that represents a net loss of about 80 jobs, we estimate, and a value of about $20 million. Now, ultimately money is coming back to the farmers for the sale of those animals, obviously. But there’s a lot of money that’s not being spent in Vermont on the processing side of that. And given the transportation costs, farmers are not making as much as they could be, if those animals could be slaughtered in state. So we’re very excited to be having this come on line because this is a plant that’s going to be able to benefit both conventional and organic producers, and producers of varying sizes.”
(Host) According to agency figures, nearly 4,000 Vermont farms of varying sizes raise meat animals, including beef, sheep, goats and hogs.