Perdido River Farms holds groundbreaking for new meat processing facility

Published 3:57 pm Thursday, May 25, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Next spring, the sun will be shining down on the new Perdido River Farms (PRF) Meat Processing Facility beside Creek Travel Plaza in Atmore.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held May 25 near the site of what will soon be a $15 million state-of-the-art facility.

“I’ve seen where we’ve went from a small scale to where we are today,” Perdido River Farms General Manager John English said. “This project is more than a year in the making.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Once built, the facility will be approximately 23,000 square feet with a retail storefront dedicated to consumer and wholesale customers. Upon opening, the facility will begin harvesting around 50 cattle per week, and will increase with demand, up to 125 per week, according to officials. The processing facility will initially focus on cattle, but eventually have the potential to handle hogs, and is expected to have 15 fulltime new positions.

Local and state dignitaries were also present for the groundbreaking, along with the Tribal Princesses and the Pow Wow Club.

Agriculture Commissioner Rick Pate said this new facility will keep food local.

“I think during the COVID pandemic, we realized that food security is national security,” Pate said. “We realized that there were some glitches. I appreciate the Poarch Creek vision. This facility will probably process as much as the other nine (facilities) in the state combined.

“This is a big win for our cattlemen, but it’s also meeting a need,” he said. “It’s going to be good for Alabama.”

Pate said when people spend money on a local level, they’re putting money back into their communities.

Poarch Creek Indians Chairwoman Stephanie Bryan said in the Tribal community, food sovereignty is important.

“During the pandemic, we realized the food shortage the pandemic caused for so many families,” Bryan said. “This is not only four our food sovereignty, but for the state as well.”

Bryan said the processing facility was a vision.

“This is going to be a reality for not only a lot of people in the community, but in the state,” she said.

Some of the benefits of new the facility include allowing the Tribe to offer quality beef to the south Alabama area; gives people the opportunity of knowing where their beef comes from and how well it was cared for; gives farmers the opportunity to save time by not having to travel 75-plus miles to have an animal processed; and provides farmers with peace of mind that the animals were taken care of in a state-of-the-art USDA inspected facility.

PRF consists of 2,900 acres of Tribal-owned agricultural properties supporting a sustainable herd of cattle, which produces USDA-inspected beef for the public. PRF’s partners include USDA agencies, state agencies and other organizations to provide educational venues and training opportunities to help inform Tribal members, landowners and agency staff of the various programs available to assist them in best management practices of their natural resources.

At present, PRF manages more than 700 head of cows and 35 bulls.