Goshen man invests it all in new abattoir
Something important recently happened in Goshen.
Two cows were killed and processed at a new Guysborough County abattoir.
J.E.G Meats is the product of a father and his two sons creating opportunity for themselves and for small farmers in northern
“Look, we did a proper business plan but, really, I figured if I built this place, once word got out it would be like that movie Field of Dreams,” said Jim Sinclair on Friday (Oct. 26).
It had better be, because Sinclair and his sons Garrett and
Evan have put a lot on the line.
“I’ve thrown everything I had into this,” said Sinclair as he showed a Chronicle Herald reporter around the family’s new abattoir.
At 61 he’s put all his life savings into the more than
“It’s not just about me, I’ve got another generation to think about,” said Sinclair.
His sons, Evan and Garrett will be the fourth generation on the family land in Goshen.
It’s the entire farming community of northern Nova Scotia that serves to benefit from a new abattoir. With Harold Ferguson’s Abattoir in Pictou County booked solid, some farmers from Antigonish and Guysborough were taking animals to Amherst to be killed — a process that required a five-hour return trip to drop the animals off and another to pick up the meat.
“I’m happier to see him start up than anybody,” said Harold Ferguson, who has run an abattoir in Bayside for 31 years. “I want to cut back over time. I’m 63 so I’ve had my day. “
So Ferguson and the owner of Dickie’s Meats near Amherst have worked with Sinclair on how to design and run his facility because they see the need.
“It’s particularly important for small farmers,” said Glen Covey, who along with his wife Kimberley Tisley owns Glenryan Farms in Southwest Margaree.
Last Wednesday, he drove 14 lambs to Sinclair’s new facility.
While farmers are still allowed to kill, process and sell animals where they are raised through farm gate sales, if they want to retail their meat it has to be killed at an inspected facility.
At abattoir’s like J.E.G. Meats, provincial government inspectors look over animals before they are killed and then examines them from lymph nodes to organs after being killed, to make sure they are safe to eat.
The meat from Covey’s lambs has been presold so he could legally kill and butcher them at his farm. Instead, he made two three-hour round trips to Goshen to drop them off and pick them up.
“For me, it’s a selling point that they’re inspected but it’s also insurance,” said Covey. “There’s nothing that’s not an hour and a half away from Southwest Margaree anyway.”
Despite demand, it wasn’t inevitable that there’d be a new abattoir in northern Nova Scotia.
“I just wanted to move home and have a little place to cut meat,” said Sinclair.
He had operated meat cutting business in Goshen during the early 90s and raised cattle on the family farm. But the realities of making a living in rural Nova Scotia, while raising a family, forced him to head west like so many others.
He spent 12 years working as a heavy duty mechanic in Alberta, then packed it in and came home.
His sons came too and one, Evan, wanted to be a famer. At 16, Evan bought four cows and started slowly building a herd. Now he has about 20, plans to expand it and to run the abattoir with his father and brother.
“I just wanted to be home and do my thing without depending on anybody else,” said Evan.
Jim Sinclair is shown with beef, killed and cut at his new abattoir in Goshen, Guysborough County. The family business J.E.G. Meats, which Jim operates with his sons Evan and Garrett, aims to meet a need for farmers in northern Nova Scotia.