Stafford’s Custom Meats begin USDA slaughtering

June 27, 2012 02:46 pm
 Stafford’s Custom Meats Inc. is now open for USDA processing and slaughtering at their facility at 70761 Highway 82, serving ranchers and the communities of Northeast Oregon and Southeast Washington.

ELGIN — Stafford’s Custom Meats Inc . is now open for USDA processing and slaughtering at their facility at 70761 Highway 82 , serving ranchers and the communities of Northeast Oregon and Southeast Washington.

Business partners Jeff Stafford and Jennifer Layman officially began their USDA processing and slaughtering operations on June 18.

“We’re doing USDA beef, lambs and buffalo right now only,” said Layman, the operations manager. “Maybe we’ll add pork in the future. This includes USDA packaging, labeling, and we offer vacuum packed or hand wrapped (meats). We will be doing USDA processing, slaughtering and custom cutting two to three days a week,” Layman said.

A USDA inspector has been assigned to Stafford’s Custom Meats and is on site five days a week.

“We’ve been blessed with a very helpful inspector,” said Layman. “He’s a temporary inspector. The permanent one hasn’t been assigned to us yet because we’re a remote location. But they are working on it. The USDA has been extremely helpful, and they want us to be successful.”

Their first week of USDA operations at the facility was just that, according to Layman. They handled two head of beef from the R.A. Paradise Ranch in Baker County and two head from Liza Jane Nichols’ 6 Ranch in Wallowa County.

Layman was glad to ease into the new processing and slaughtering operation like this because she anticipates “ramping up for August and September” when the summer fattened livestock start coming in.

“We’ll have business from Union, Baker and Wallowa counties,” said Layman. “Wallowa will be a big one. For years (Wallowa) ranchers were driving their livestock right by us to Nampa, Idaho for slaughtering. Now word is spreading from rancher to rancher that we’re open. The word is becoming widespread and customers are coming all the way from Walla Walla to us.”

Layman said their USDA facility is needed in this area, and that they based their decision to open partly on a favorable feasibility study conducted by Nella Parks of the Oregon Rural Action organization in La Grande. Ranchers of Northeast Oregon especially needed a closer USDA facility to bring their livestock.

“The only reason we’re doing this is because of the ranchers and community,” Layman said. “We’re a two-man show really, but our clients were begging us to do this.”

At present Stafford’s Custom Meats employs one full-time and two three-quarter time employees. “We’re about to advertise for an experienced full-time meat cutter with potential to become a partner,” Layman said. 

Jeff Stafford has 36 years of experience and is a fourth generation butcher. He and Layman would like to find another experienced butcher to help with the volume of work they anticipate as the year progresses.

For more information about Stafford’s Custom Meats, call 541-437-6328 during their office hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit Stafford’s Custom Meats on Facebook for future news updates.