Sunderland approves poultry processing plant 

  • The inside of a building at 136 Russell St. in Sunderland, where property owner Peter Laznicka hopes to start a poultry processing plant. The chickens would be processed in the 40-foot metal container seen at right. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Peter Laznicka plans to open a poultry processing plant in this building at 136 Russell St. in Sunderland. Staff Photo/Domenic Poli

Staff Writer
Published: 12/9/2018 11:45:48 PM

SUNDERLAND — A poultry processing plant will likely be up and running at 136 Russell St. in March, as the town Selectboard voted last week to approve a young entrepreneur’s application.

Selectboard member Scott Bergeron applauded Peter Laznicka’s transparency and cooperation with the town moments before he and Vice Chairman David Pierce voted in favor of approving the application, which Laznicka said was his final step toward starting the operation. Chairman Thomas D. Fydenkevez was not present.

Bergeron said Laznicka was open and informative with town officials and property abutters who showed up for a tour on Nov. 24. The facility consists of a 40-foot metal shipping container, in which chickens are processed, that takes up about one-tenth of the space inside a 40-by-100-foot building with a wood frame and metal shell.

“I thought that the facility was very ingenious, it was very well thought out,” Bergeron said, adding that Laznicka made a shipping container “essentially food-safe for the processing of animals.”

Bergeron, who said Sunderland Health Agent Steven Ball had already visited the facility, wished Laznicka well in his endeavor. He said the facility is so inconspicuous, anyone unfamiliar with Laznicka’s business plan would have no reason to suspect it is there.

“That’s the point,” said Laznicka, who lives in Leverett.

He said that the facility, once open, will be available to anyone who wants to utilize its services. He said the $5-per-bird fee includes everything — slaughtering, chilling, packaging and labeling. At a previous Selectboard meeting on Nov. 19, Laznicka said he raises chickens in pasture and “part of raising chickens is having a way to process them.” He said he has, in the past, sold chickens wholesale to universities, including the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Mount Holyoke College.

He said he hopes his new facility will attract the business of area poultry farmers and encourage others to start raising birds of their own.

At the Nov. 19 meeting, Laznicka said he plans to process about 200 chickens — enough to fill the bed of a pickup truck — each week. He said each processed chicken is about the size of a football. He said his season runs from the end of March to early November.

When a woman expressed concern over the possible contamination of a nearby brook, Laznicka explained all waste will flow into a 12-foot floor drain.

“The container is located 3 to 4 feet from the wall … and the concrete is sloped to the drain, and it’s all collected there,” he said. “Really, there’s no possible way for it to not go into that drain.”

Laznickza said blood, which is considered a solid waste, will go into a catch basin and funneled into a hole to a 5-gallon bucket to be disposed of in an organic compost dumpster.

He said he has been in the industry for about six years, using a mobile unit to go from farm to farm.




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