SCIENCE HILL, Ky. — Since the late 1800s, the Turpen family has operated local, family-owned meat processing facilities in southcentral Kentucky, owned a meat processing facility in Nancy, and raised quality beef and pork. The August opening of Summit Meat Processing continues the Turpen family passion for the business that has been passed down through generations. This new business will serve Pulaski County and area producers through processing fresh, high-quality local meats in Kentucky.
“Along with being a sixth-generation farmer myself, my grandfather started processing quality meats in the 1960's and passed down his passion to me,” said Kyle Turpen, owner of Summit Meat Processing. “By partnering with local farm families, we can offer the freshest, highest quality meat with direct traceability back to its home farm.”
Kyle lives in a county with some of the highest cattle numbers in Kentucky, yet Pulaski County did not have a processing facility for area producers. In 2012, Kyle envisioned a processing facility in southcentral Kentucky that would offer custom processing as well as USDA-inspected products to be sold at a small retail store. Before making the decision to open a processing facility, Kyle turned to the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD) to help conduct market research.
“KCARD worked with us to research the market, see how many producers would be willing to use a new processing facility in the area, and if a facility was even feasible in Pulaski County,” explained Kyle. “We were able to see what a facility would need to offer to producers and create financial projections that would ensure success for the facility.”
“From the first meeting, it was obvious that Kyle is very passionate about establishing a business that can benefit both local livestock producers and local consumers,” said Brent Lackey, KCARD business development sSpecialist. “Kyle put a lot of time and effort into planning Summit Meat Processing and making his vision become reality.”
Summit Meat Processing applied for county and state agricultural development funds with assistance from KCARD. From those applications, Summit Meat Processing secured a forgivable loan from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund and received funding through the Pulaski, Lincoln, and Laurel County Agricultural Development Boards to assist with the building and development of Summit Meat Processing.
Summit Meat Processing opened its doors for custom processing at the beginning of August 2016.
“We put the customer first and let them know that we do care and want to make their order right every time. If the order isn’t right, we will try to make it right by the customer at the end of the day,” explained Kyle. “At the end of each day, we thoroughly clean the entire facility to ensure that the meat processed the next day is processed in a clean environment.”
Summit Meat Processing has big plans for the future, including opening a retail store to offer high quality pork and beef products like custom sausage, cured and smoked hams and bacons, and many more signature pork and beef products. Eventually, they want to offer online ordering with a shipping or delivery option.
“We are working on becoming USDA certified to begin offering Summit Meat Processing labeled beef and pork products in a retail store and online store,” said Kyle. “Right now, though, we are focused on perfecting our processes and making sure the products we put out are of the highest quality.”
In an effort to support the local community, Summit Meat Processing is working with the local God’s Pantry and Hunters with Heart. Hunters with Heart allows local hunters to donate their deer meat to the local food pantry and provide a quality protein source to numerous families in need in the region.
“Many food banks cannot afford to provide adequate protein to all those who use the services,” explained Kyle. “Our hope for Hunters with Heart is to provide ground venison to local food banks so they can feed those who are in need of a healthy meal.”
Hunters who want to participate in Hunters with Heart can donate the entire animal to Summit Meat Processing at the time of processing. The cost of the deer tag is the only cost to the hunter. Hunters who wish to keep the back strap can donate $25 to the program, which will help cover the cost of processing and delivery to God’s Food Pantry.
Summit Meat Processing is located at 244 Ware Road in Science Hill and is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The business has extended hours during deer season. To learn more about Summit Meat Processing, visit summitmeat.com, call (606) 423-9369, or check out their Facebook page.
The Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development helps agricultural producers, agribusinesses, and others by providing assistance with business planning, grant and loan packages, strategic planning, business management reviews, operations and cost analysis, record-keeping development, feasibility studies, and on-site business consultations. Support for KCARD is provided in part by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board and the USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant. To learn more about KCARD services, visit kcard.info.