By Zach Morton
For Farm Carolina
CONCORD — Cabarrus County will soon have its own animal harvesting and processing plant, or slaughterhouse, opening in the coming months.
The facility, which is located at Cruse Meat Processing in Concord, will be welcome news to the many cattle farmers in the county and surrounding area.
“They have it designed for Cabarrus, Rowan, Stanly, and Mecklenburg Counties, and of course anyone else who wants to bring there animals here,” said manager Eddie Cruse.
Opened since 1973, Cruse Meat has processed beef and pork for many residents in the area after harvesting. However, it lacked an onsite slaughterhouse for its customers. Animals had to be shipped to plants in North Wilkesboro or Gibsonville for harvesting, and then back to Cruse for processing.
“The farmers didn’t like the idea of their animals being hauled 75 miles for butchering and another 75 miles back on a truck.”
The idea of having a local plant in the area was proposed as a response to help local farmers save time and money. A county meeting was held in the fall of 2007 to discuss the issue.
Carl Pless, Livestock Agent with the Cabarrus County Cooperative Extension recalls the meeting.
“We had a town hall meeting with all the county commissioners. About 200 farmers and citizens showed up and we discussed what where our challenges and opportunities in the agriculture in the county.”
“We discussed that beef cattle were our leading income producer for agriculture but we didn’t have a way to get folks growing calves here turned into beef that they could market locally.”
In 2008, the county received a $675,000 grant from the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund to help build the facility. The total cost of the facility is estimated to be around $1 million.
After obtaining additional grants and loans, construction began in late 2011. When opened (Cruse is looking at a July date), the facility will “be able to butcher 25 head a day of either hogs or cattle,” said Cruse.
Depending on the room, Cruse may also process venison during the fall.
“We may do some deer processing if we have room. We have to keep it completely separated from it and from an inspected product. I am not sure about that right now.”
Cruse Meat Processing is located 4701 Rimer Road in Concord, and can be reached at (704) 786-8616.