Local farmer asking for support in fight against new poultry law

June 23, 2014 10:26:02 AM

Sarah Fowler - sfowler@cdispatch.com

 

A local farm is gaining momentum in its efforts to change state laws. 

 

Beaverdam Farm outside of West Point is raising money and signatures to petition state lawmakers to change a law that restricts how small farms sell and deliver poultry. 

 

According to Beaverdam Farm owner Ali Fratesi, state lawmakers recently passed a law that restricted farm owners from delivering poultry. The law was aimed at commercial farmers, but has negatively impacted small farmers. 

 

"A lot of small farm owners, we live in rural areas and we can't expect people to drive to us to pick up their poultry products," Fratesi said. Currently, Beaverdam Farms delivers to Jackson, Ridgeland, Meridian, Columbus and Starkville. The farm raises chicken, turkeys and pigs.  

 

They process the poultry in their facility and then deliver via a state-regulated freezer and refrigerator truck. They can currently process 1,000 birds but are building a new facility to process up to 20,000 birds. However, with the new law, deliveries have been put on hold. 

 

In response, supporters of Beaverdam farm have started an online campaign through Kickstarter website to help raise money and signatures. As of Saturday, the group had raised $26,000, Fratesi said. 

 

Due to the state law, the new facility and truck may be a moot point, however. 

 

Fratesi said Mississippi is the only state in the South that has such laws in place. She said supporters are simply asking law makers to pass a law similar to other states. 

 

"All the neighboring states around, they all allow poultry to be delivered off site," she said. "What we want is Mississippi to reflect it's neighboring states and allow small farmers to deliver off site." 

 

The Kickstarter campaign ends July 1. This Wednesday, Bin 612 in Starkville is hosting a farm-to-table fund raiser to benefit the farm's campaign. The event will host three local bands and food will be provided by local farmers including Beaverdam Farm. It will be held from 5-8 p.m.

Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.