A Game Changer For Shenandoah Valley Organic
Shenandoah Valley Organic (SVO) in Harrisonburg, Virginia is paving the way for innovative partnerships by offering their poultry farmers ownership in the process. Founded in 2013, SVO currently processes 70 birds per minute on a single-line system. The company has joined forces with Meyn to further increase their capacity, while also exploring the opportunity of harvesting giblets.
Shenandoah Valley Organic is a family-owned chicken company offering 100% organic chicken products. It all began when the founder and CEO, Corwin Heatwole, decided to move away from traditional contracts between integrators and farmers and pursue his vision of a farmer-focused business model. Not only does this unique business relationship give farmers the opportunity to have a vested partnership by owning their chickens, but it also requires less working capital for SVO. Currently, the company is partnered with 35 farmers and has a waiting list of growers who have migrated over from other competitors with conditional contracts.
SVO’s southern U.S. processing plant comprises 65,000 square feet and has been working with used equipment in its renovated facility. The plan is to upgrade the plant by installing state-of-the-art equipment. To accomplish this modernization project SVO has teamed up with Meyn to initiate a test of a new evisceration and organ harvesting innovation beginning in spring of 2019.
“Meyn’s new harvesting system will save us labor, increase our capacity on a single shift, and help us grow while still utilizing the labor market that we do have” says Bob Bahr, VP of Operations, Shenandoah Valley Organic. In addition, the new eviscerator system is expected to improve yield by providing SVO with the opportunity to generate additional sales and revenue through fully automated giblet harvesting. The company will focus on giblets for the organic market, which can be sold at premium prices.
Meyn became SVO’s preferred choice for sourcing poultry processing equipment because of our advanced technology systems and superior customer service. Bahr explains, “With Meyn, we will be able to have uniformity and one single-source supplier to help us solve our problems. We feel like it fits with our work size, short-term and long-term goals, and is a good fit with what we’re trying to accomplish.”
While building up their plant to increase efficiency is a top priority, SVO hasn’t lost sight of their vision to develop sustainable business relationships with the farming community while continuing to provide high-quality products to their customers. Together with Meyn, the project is on the way to being successfully executed in the upcoming months, with much excitement about the expected results.