What's Holding Back Local Meat Processing?

In order for local meat processing to be successful, long-term business commitments need to be made between the processors and the farmers.

| June 25, 2013

  • If farmers, on their own or in coordinated groups or brands, commit to bringing a steady supply of livestock, meat processors could then commit to providing consistent, high-quality services.
    Photo by Fotolia/Visionsi

A press release from Oregon State University.

Building more meat processing plants won't yield more local meat unless farmers and processors change how they do business with each other, according to a new report.

"Farmers say, 'There aren't enough processors.' But how can processors stay open, let alone grow, without enough steady, consistent business to pay their bills?" said lead author Lauren Gwin, a researcher at Oregon State University. "'I'll call you when I need you' is convenient in the short term but doesn't give either side any long-term stability or growth." 

The report analyzed challenges and innovations in local meat processing. It focused on seven successful processors around the U.S.



Gwin and co-author Arion Thiboumery, an Extension associate at Iowa State University, found that long-term business commitments between processors and farmers were essential to success.

"If farmers, on their own or in coordinated groups or brands, commit to bringing a steady supply of livestock, processors could then commit to providing consistent, high-quality services," Gwin said.






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