Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Local-food advocates, small ranchers trying to revive local slaughterhouses

Almost all small slaughterhouses have gone out of business because they've been unable to compete with large, consolidated abattoirs. Just four corporations in the U.S. slaughter about 80 percent of the country's cattle. The loss of small slaughterhouses, mostly in rural places, has cost jobs in those communities and in many cases creates a lie of the "locally produced beef" label, reports Beth Hoffman of National Public Radio.

Some rural communities and groups are trying to change this by building their own slaughterhouses. The Cattle Producers of Washington will build a new facility in Odessa, Wash. (MapQuest image), exclusively serving small Eastern Washington ranches. Most grass-fed beef in the region had to be transported 400 to 600 miles into Oregon to be processed, but CPOW President Willard Wolf hopes the new plant will change that. "The whole idea is to have quality control and humane processing for local cattle, hogs, sheep and goats that provides consumers in the state with the locally produced products they are demanding," he told Hoffman. "Having a producer-owned plan will help keep dollars, ranchers and farmers in our communities."

Other communities are trying also to keep beef processing local. In Sullivan County, New York, officials say they want to maintain the rural "agrarian feel" of the county. Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency Director Jennifer Brylinski said the county is building the plant 90 from New York City on otherwise undesirable land to see the county's "farmland kept as farmland." The plant will cater to small ranchers in the region. (Read more)

No comments: