Niko & Co. provides USDA approved poultry processing

Posted By | April 28, 2014 12:00 am

The Malamatos family stands together outside their processing plant, where they provide quality, affordable poultry processing for farmers. From the left, Kelly Taylor, Steve Malamatos and Mary Malamatos

Niko & Company, a family owned business, in Walling, has recently opened its doors to provide USDA approved consistent, high-quality poultry slaughter and processing for small farms at an affordable price, in an effort to assist farmers so they can focus on marketing and selling their products.
The company, owned and operated by the Malamatos family, who moved to Tennessee six years ago, was created with the aim of aiding family farms and small poultry producers who would like to keep their product local, as before now, there was no USDA certified poultry processing facility in the state that would process birds for small farms.
In fact, there are less than 10 businesses like theirs in the entire nation.
“We learned firsthand the difficulties encountered in trying to find a processor for our birds so we could sell or donate them in the community where we live…The large corporately owned processing facilities only process ‘company birds,’” they say.
With this in mind, they built their facility on their five-acre plot and opened their doors to customers last summer, with a USDA inspector on staff to approve every single bird.
“Our biggest purpose is to promote small farms,” Steve Malamatos says. “We’re just doing our part – doing what we can do with what we’ve got.”
The family says they hope to support Sparta and White County businesses and farmers and provide jobs, eventually 10 to 14 positions, and a service that will fulfill their mission to “facilitate the success of small farmers and enable them to increase their business.”
“We want to make their product marketable,” Mary Malamatos says, so that farmers can keep their focus on raising their birds, and then selling them once they have been processed.
They receive business from surrounding states, although Steve says, “Tennessee comes first.”
The plant has the ability to process up to 2,500 chickens, but they do not have the manning to be able to process so many birds. Along with hiring White County residents, the family hopes to have a program in place in the future to take in foster youth that have aged out of the foster system and teach them farming and processing.
In an effort to educate younger generations about the importance of farming, the plant has partnered with a program at Tennessee Tech, taught by assistant professor Dennis Fennewald, who has scheduled to bring birds raised by the students to Niko & Co. to be processed. The family hopes some of the students will also take part in the processing of their chickens to experience the entire progression of raising their birds “from farm to table.”
The plant, named for Mary and Steve’s son Nicholas and for Steve’s Greek heritage, is operated by Steve and Mary and daughter Kelly Tyler.
Steve has 30 years experience as a successful business owner. He manages the business, runs day-to-day operations and plans for future needs and changes.
Mary is a registered nurse and oversees quality assurance, OSHA compliance, employee training and communicates with customers, employees and regulatory agencies.
Kelly manages the evisceration and packaging areas, inspects the birds along with the USDA inspector and ensures quality and cleanliness each step of the process.
Mary admits the work is hard, but she takes great satisfaction from what she does. The payoff, she says, comes from the appreciation farmers show the family when they pick up their neatly packaged product, labeled with their name.
The Malamatos family hopes to increase their services to become a “one-stop” resource for farmers, from education, to supplies and processing.
They plan to expand their poultry farming efforts, with their Lula Farms selling broiler chicks along with processing at Niko & Co.
For more information, visit Niko & Company online at www.nikoandcompany.com or call (931) 743-4898. The plant is at 6815 Franks Ferry Road, in Walling.

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