An organic chicken and egg farm on the East End has received $83,400 in grants from the state to support its expansion plans.
Browder's Birds LLC secured $61,400 from Empire State Development recently toward the purchase of a mobile slaughter unit, the first of its kind on Long Island.
The $287,000 project will allow the small farm in Mattituck to process many more chickens, up to 20,000 per year. "We will never go that high, but it will definitely allow us to grow," said Chris Browder, who started the business with his wife, Holly, in 2010.
The slaughter unit is housed in a 28-foot, climate-controlled trailer equipped with sinks with hot and cold running water. Chris Browder said Tuesday he hopes in a few years to offer on-site slaughtering to other chicken farms.
Browder's employs four people and occupies 16 acres in Mattituck. Browder, a former banker, said he hopes the farm will turn a profit in a few years.
The couple raises chickens, ducks, sheep and bees. They expect to sell about 1,500 chickens this year. Prices range from $7 to $8 per pound.
The chickens, eggs and other products are sold at farmers markets and on weekends at the farm. Customers include East End residents and restaurants.
"We don't have enough product to meet the demand," Browder said.
In addition to the Empire State Development grant, the North Fork farm won $22,000 last week from the state's New Farmers Grant Fund, which was established last year.
Browder said Tuesday that money would go toward equipment purchases, including a backup generator for a freezer and refrigerators. The farm also is composting all of its waste.
The farmers grant fund seeks to help startup farming enterprises. "We are creating opportunities for early-stage farmers that will increase future productivity on all farms and create long-term agricultural growth across New York State," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said last week.
The fund has awarded $610,000 in grants so far. The state legislature approved an additional $1 million on April 1.
The other local grant recipient is Condzella Hops, a supplier of hops to local beer makers. The Wading River company, started by John A. Condzella, received $17,000 from the farmers grant fund.