A slaughter facility owned and managed by Eastern Washington ranchers has received its USDA grant of inspection.

The Cattle Producers of Washington Livestock Processors Cooperative Association recently received the final grant of inspection for its slaughter facility in Odessa, Wash.

USDA has assigned a permanent inspector to the facility, who is relocating, said Sue Lani Madsen, secretary-treasurer for the association board of directors.

USDA inspection for retail sale has been going on at the site, but the final approval formally ends the plant’s standard probation period, Madsen said.

“If a producer has their animals processed under USDA protocol, it is legal to make sales on a per-cut basis in the retail market,” she said. “It really opens up a whole lot more opportunity for sales beyond the custom-exempt market, where you have to line up buyers and essentially sell them the animal before processing.”

The plant is designed to manage the equivalent of 20 head of beef per day.

General manager Darren Summers said the designation shows the facility complied with food safety regulations and its processes are working.

Operations resumed Jan. 27 after closing Jan. 13 for repairs. Several floors at the facility were not draining correctly, so Garco Construction, the design-and-build contractor, returned to the site to make repairs, Summers said.

The plant used the downtime for employee training. Summers said there are currently 10 employees, with a variety of experience levels.

“Now that we have our building fixed and our employees online,  the next step is to get customers in the building,” he said. “We need to let people know we’re open and we’re ready. We need animals in here to process.”

Summers joined the facility in October as general manager. His 30 years of experience as a custom processor includes retail and owning and operating a business in Odessa.

“He brings a depth of experience to the position,” Madsen said.

Summers has a history of processing animals for several members of the association and CPOW.

Members receive preferred scheduling. The plant is open to non-members.

“We don’t want to turn anybody away we can possibly provide a service for,” Summers said.

For more information, contact the plant at 509-982-0115.

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