Support to establish a USDA Mobile Meat Processing Unit

March 25, 2008

Cheryl Ouellette, Project Coordinator
Pierce Conservation District
P.O. Box 1057
Puyallup, Wash. 98371

Re: Puget Sound Meat Producers’ Cooperative, and Mobile Meat Processing Unit for South Puget Sound

Dear Ms. Ouellette:

We at PCC Natural Markets want you to know how pleased and encouraged we are to learn of your efforts to bring on line and manage a USDA Mobile Meat Processing Unit for growers in the south Puget Sound area.

PCC Natural Markets is the nation’s largest community owned food retail co-op, serving the region for half a century. We currently have more than 40,000 member households and are also fully open to the public. We have five stores in Seattle, stores in Issaquah, Kirkland and Redmond, and a ninth store will open this summer in Edmonds.

Our mission is focused on providing natural, sustainably produced, and mostly organic fresh produce, meats, and dairy products in addition to natural and organic groceries. We emphasize building long-term working relationships with our producers, and work closely with numerous local and regional family farmers and ranchers.

However, for several years it has become increasingly challenging to source adequate quantities of USDA processed poultry and meat from local and regional growers. Primarily this reflects the lack of local USDA processing facilities.

We are convinced that a USDA Mobile Meat Processing Unit, serving growers in the south Puget Sound area, should greatly stimulate and promote grower incentives and competition. It will help retailers such as our company to better respond to our customers’ growing demands for more locally grown poultry, beef, pork, lamb and specialty meats. It should help farmers reduce costs, by avoiding labor for long transport times, reduce fuel costs, and thereby also should reduce climate impacts by using less fossil fuel.

Less need to transport livestock should reassure consumers concerned that humane handling be demonstrated, since this reduces stresses of long transport. It should also reduce loss of livestock due to injuries or death sometimes related to transport conditions.

Thank you for your good work and vision in this matter.

In cooperation,

Tracy Wolpert
Chief Executive Officer
PCC Natural Markets

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