Fellows in the News

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.

Read more and get links to the report and policy recommendations

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