BY KAREN BOSSICK
Impact Idaho Fund has invested in a multi-species meat processing facility in Kuna led by a Wood River Valley native who established an ostrich farm.
Impact Idaho Fund, a project of the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience, has invested in Sustainable Meats south of the Boise Airport near in Kuna. The facility is a subsidiary of American Ostrich Farms, led by Founder and CEO Alex McCoy.
The addition of a slaughter and fabrication facility to the farm’s chain adds to the farm’s ongoing genetics research and development and commercial scale livestock production, making it possible for the farm to provide direct-to-consumer premium retail ready cuts.
“This facility solves a huge problem for our business and we’re ecstatic to be part of the solution to a regional deficiency that was laid bare by the pandemic,” said McCoy, who grew up in the Wood River Valley and founded American Ostrich Farms in 2013. “Ostrich is the new kid on the block in the $400 billion U.S. animal protein market, and in order to be sustainable and provide the best possible product for our customers, we realized that we need to control the process from the ground up.”
In addition to fabricating their own products, the new facility will offer third party processing to regional beef and lamb producers, filling a long-standing gap for southern Idaho ranchers who had no place to process their product locally.
“Our mission is very closely aligned with that of the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience,” said McCoy. “The meat industry is concentrated, antiquated, and vulnerable. This is a major issue for our region in general and for our business specifically. Building distributed slaughter and fabrication facilities like this one is a resilience driver for our region and can be replicated to achieve considerable impact throughout the country.”
Because they have control over the process, Sustainable Meats will be able to capture more from each animal, vastly decreasing waste. What is not used for human or pet consumption will be composted on-site and utilized to continually improve the quality of the soil on their farm.
The industrial strength wastewater generated by the facility is treated using a high-tech self-contained system that results in effluent that’s cleaner than what is discharged from a typical residential home. “Our goal is to create a minimal-waste, energy efficient model that other facilities can follow,” said McCoy.
Funding from the Impact Idaho Fund, in the form of a low-interest loan, is the closing capital for the Sustainable Meats facility and serves as the final catalyst for bringing the plant online.
This is the fourth project in the Fund portfolio, which focuses on building a robust, climate-smart food system in southern and central Idaho. Other funded businesses include Itty Bitty Farms in Carey, Lookout Farm in Bellevue and Wild Spaces Dairy, a Glenns Ferry farm that produces raw milk butter and raw milk while using regenerative management practices.
This project is important for our regional food system,” say Sun Valley Institute of Resilience Program Director Amy Mattias. “It is making a critical service available to local ranchers and creating a new, sustainable model for meat processing facilities.”
The number of projects requesting funding from the Impact Idaho Fund is accelerating and investors and donors are stepping up to make sure every great idea gets funded, added Nate Twichell, executive director of Sun Valley Institute for Resilience.
Learn more at https://www.sunvalleyinstitute.org.
This article was originally posted by Eye on Sun Valley.