Independent poultry processors benefit from law

File photo (MGN Online/GNU Image)

TOWN OF CLINTON, Wis. (AP) - A recently revised federal law was expected to mean more business for independent meat and poultry processors, including a small company in southern Wisconsin.

Brian Lutzow, of Twin Cities Pack in Rock County, is one of a few independent poultry processing plants in Wisconsin. His company is the second in the state to become certified for interstate shipping following a change in the law that allows him to ship beyond Wisconsin's borders.

The 1960 Meat Inspection Act said chicken, beef and other meat products sold in retail settings had to be processed in the same state, said Cindy Klug, the manager of the state Bureau of Meat Inspection.

Lutzow isn't selling product under his own label. His customers range from 4-H kids to organic farmers with small herds. His largest customer is MacFarlane Pheasants of Janesville.

"There are producers in Illinois that could stand on a hill and see Wisconsin but had to go south (to a processing plant)," Klug said. "This helps break down borders."

The cooperative shipping program, which was first introduced in the 2008 Farm Bill allows independent //processors such as Lutzow to become certified facilities for interstate shipping.

"It took six years to implement, and the big boys challenged it" Lutzow said, referring to the companies that process and sell chicken nationwide, according to the Janesville Gazette.

Lutzow applied for the license in 2013 and it took about a year to process. The first independent processor to receive certification in Wisconsin was Wyttenbach Meats in Prairie Du Sac, Klug said. Lutzow said the change has already meant more business.