Deer farmer aims to fix building, revive business |

Deer farmer aims to fix building, revive business

A domestic deer farmer is seeking Nevada County approval to renovate his slaughtering building to state standards and get back in business.

Sales of deer meat stopped at Jay Betz’s farm after Jan. 1, when new California Department of Agriculture regulations for venison meat went into effect.

Betz said he is seeking county approval to remodel 800 square feet of a slaughtering building to meet cleanliness standards set by the department.

County planners decided that any environmental problems with odor can be dealt with by keeping deer remains in sealed containers.

No one testified against Betz’s permit request at a zoning hearing Wednesday. Betz said a neighbor attended the hearing, and that neighbors have been supportive of his efforts.

The county zoning administrator tabled consideration of the permit until Oct. 2, at Betz’s request, to further review traffic issues.

The county is considering a permit that would allow Betz to slaughter up to five deer per week. Betz owns 140 acres in an undeveloped area in the southwest part of the county near Perimeter Road that is zoned for agriculture, with a minimum lot size of 40 acres.

Betz said he would not slaughter more than one deer per week.

He has been raising deer and selling venison meat for four years on his farm on Otter Road. He has 100 deer on the fenced property.

Betz says his customers buy his venison because it is low in fat and free of antibiotics, chemicals and growth hormones.

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