We Need More Local Meat Processors and We Need Them Now



The Sunflower Farm Grass-fed Beef

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the reports of farmers euthanizing whole herds of hogs, cattle and chickens, some of which may be true, but however, at this point, are limited in actual numbers. There is definitely a major problem being exposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has closed off or limited meat production and distribution in the past 30 days.

Last week, the grocery store in my hometown ordered 60 boxes of meat from their distributor, yet only received 18 boxes, all at higher prices. There are also reports of farmers now seeking to sell direct to customers, many of whom are butchering their own hogs and chickens. Or the ranchers are hauling beef cattle to processors for slaughter that is picked up a week or two later by the consumers.

Unfortunately, there are not near enough small butcher shops remaining in the country to process enough livestock to feed everyone who eats meat, as the slaughter and butchering operations have been centralized by the world’s largest meat packers, such as JBS-SA, Cargill, Tyson, and other multinational ag corporations that do business here in the U.S. and abroad. So how did we get here?

The Industrial Meat System

Most cattle ranchers make the mistake of contracting with the "order buyers" from big feedlot operating companies, known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFO’s (just the Panhandle of Texas has over one million head of cattle in these feedlots). The ranchers then get sold on using growth hormones to speed up the growth of yearling cattle and are offered a set price for all their calves to be bought and sold into the factory farm system. The calves go off to the feedlots at a year old, where they begin eating nothing but grains — mostly soy and corn, mixed with numerous additives. This carries on for six to eight months, then on to the factory farm processing plants.

5/29/2020 9:11:23 AM

"The only way to stop it and secure our food is to break this centralized, corporate control. I'm hopeful, however doubtful, with so many corrupt politicians running the "red states" where most meat production happens." Per the Congressional Record, the number of "red" bill co-sponsors outnumber "blue" ones by about 3 to 1. No doubt the the meat lobby in DC is doing more to block this than any group of corrupt politicians ever could. The test will be if the Speaker will bring this awesome legislation up to a vote. It's up to us to push this thru!

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