USDA Custom Meat Processing Now Available in the High Country

VILAS, NC (April 13, 2021) — Two long-time Watauga County families come together to open the High Country’s first USDA inspected custom meat processing center in Vilas, NC. Bob and Gray Shipley opened Watauga Butchery in 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns pushed processing lead times at slaughterhouses from 4 weeks to over a year.

In need of a facility and butcher, the Shipley’s reached out to Kenny Cole, owner/operator of Cole Meat Processing, a custom shop processing mostly deer and freezer beef started by Kenny’s father, Franklin, in 1984.

The Shipley and Cole families share a connection from years of attending church together, and before that, back to when Franklin Cole was a vocational agriculture student of R.G. Shipley, Bob’s father, and a longtime leader in the Watauga County agricultural and educational community.

The two families saw a need and came together to open Watauga Butchery.

“Watauga Butchery exists to serve and support the local farmers and producers in the region and beyond who work to keep us all fed,” says Bob Shipley, co-owner.

The Butchery offers custom butchery and packing services with commercial and retail quality packaging. Initially only processing beef, Watauga Butchery now includes pork and lamb.

Bob Shipley says they plan to offer additional value-added products, including burger patties, sausages, and other offerings in the near future.

At just below 3,000 feet elevation, Watauga Butchery may be the highest meat processor in the Eastern US!

Press Release Provided By:
Sydney Phillips
Business & Marketing Manager
Shipley Farms Beef
Watauga Butchery