The Meat Technology Center, part of the Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center (GSRREC) is a licensed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meat processing plant. It is located on Fort Valley State University’s campus on Carver Drive.
Terrell Hollis, FVSU’s meat plant manager, said FVSU provided free animal processing services to limited resource farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During June and July of 2020, eight farmers and several retail clients received processing services at the plant for personal consumption and retail sales. From August to November of 2020, the plant processed more than two hogs, 11 steers, 102 goats and 42 sheep.
Rodney West, owner of an 18-acre cattle farm in Laurens County, shared how he benefited from the services offered by the GSRREC.
“It was very convenient. There were no hiccups or red tape hindering me from coming (to the facility). It was pretty simple,” he said. “The people were very friendly, welcoming and professional. I have nothing but high regards for the facility,” the cattle farmer said.
The Dublin farmer said he found out about the facility from FVSU alumni who are also cattle farmers. “I got a chance to investigate it and try it out for myself,” he said.
West said that he would tell other beef cattle producers what he knows about FVSU’s Meat Technology Center and will be a returning customer. “The services were phenomenal and the facility did not have any flaws. I know they’ll get the job done,” he said.
In addition to providing services to small and limited resource farmers, Hollis said there are plans to make upgrades to the facility to accommodate more local meat producers. This will help alleviate the nationwide backlog that meat processing plants are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information about the Meat Technology Center and the GSRREC, contact Hollis at (478) 827-3078 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Brou Kouakou, director of the GSRREC at (478) 827-3091 (email@example.com).