Food from the Field is in its second year of operation this year and we couldn't be more excited to welcome five new processors to the team! Today, we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce Paintrock Processing located in Hyattville, Wyoming.
Paintrock Processing is owned by Tommy Searfoss, a midwest native who fell in love with Wyoming and has no intention of ever leaving. He has owned Paintrock Processing for two years, purchasing it from his mom who founded the business 17 years ago. In those years, Tommy has been busy: he added a smokeroom, a 20 x 20 cooler, and two new freezers, enabling Paintrock to triple the business it was able to complete prior to his purchase. Not one to dwell on the hard work it took to grow the business, Tommy told us "he had a vision and it went well."
Meet some of the Paintrock Processing team! In addition to expanding the physical side of the business, he also expanded the staff, which has grown from two to nine employees. No rest for this crew—they are busy all the time, processing around 108 domestic animals per month. Add in wild game and it's nonstop!
There is a little paperwork and some new processes to follow when becoming an official Food from the Field program processor, so we wanted to know what motivated Tommy to join the team. "It was really just the explanation from the First Lady and Trista Ostrom," he says. "The First Lady is on top of her game—I was impressed that someone is really paying attention to that end of things, and no one wants to see children or anyone else going hungry. It's all right there to follow on the website and with their help—not a headache at all. If I have a question I can just call up and get an answer right away."
When it comes to younger hunters, Tommy is especially enthusiastic about teaching them that game donation is a game-changer. He has partnered with Matt Lynch, Game Warden for Area 45, to handle donations from a youth hunt in the Worland area on December 6: 22 white tail deer tags in all that will be filled and donated to Food from the Field. He knows kids are really excited about the donation, because it will directly benefit people in the community. "When we teach them young, it's easy to get them excited about helping out," Tommy says. Research has shown that in the past 30 years, the average age of hunters is rising. Introducing a new generation of younger people to hunting—and providing a way to make a direct impact on the health and well-being of everyone in the community—is an idea that is growing by leaps and bounds in the Hyattville area, thanks in part to Tommy's advocacy.
In the meantime, Tommy encourages hunters of all ages to familiarize themselves with Food from the Field and consider donating their game to the program. He knows the elk haven't "done their thing" by coming down from high elevations as early as normal because of dry conditions in the area, but he has high hopes that they'll make their way down soon. One thing is sure: he and his team will be ready for them when they do.
You can visit Paintrock Processing online at paintrockprocessing.com and follow them on Facebook @Paintrock Processing.
Are you a hunter interested in donating to Food from the Field? Head over to our program page to see the full list of participating processors around the state and learn more about how you can get involved. Donations directly benefit local food pantries and agencies in your area.