Meat & Poultry Ontario is looking for a few more livestock producers in the southwest region of the province to participate in a pilot project.

The organization has been working diligently on assessing and evaluating livestock processing capacity, stumbling blocks, and opportunities from both the producer and processor perspective.

As part of the study, the group is launching a processing capacity matching pilot project and needs a few more producers to sign on in order to make the pilot a success.

“We’re calling it Hooks n’ Heads, as a nickname ” says Franco Naccarato, executive director of Meat & Poultry Ontario.

The project is born out of an identified issue in the livestock processing space. Farmers and ranchers have expressed frustration with lack of hook space at abattoirs and long wait times. Processors, on the other hand, have expressed frustration over farmers showing up with fewer animals than they had committed to, which results in unused hook space, and no easy way to quickly fill those gaps.

Naccarato says that, for now, the pilot is being managed as an email-based service. Farmers and ranchers with market-ready animals can send an email to [email protected] and they’ll try their best to link them to an abattoir with processing space. The pilot, funded through a Canadian Agriculture Partnership grant, has already had success in matching farmers with space.

“We’re willing to explore all proteins (beef, lamb, pork, veal, and poultry),” he says, though finding poultry processing capacity is the toughest. Farmers and ranchers interested would need to be able to deliver animals within the southwest region, from Norfolk to Brantford, due to the participating abattoirs.

If the proof of concept goes well, Naccarato says the service — perhaps as an app or 1-800 service — would expand to the entire province.

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