Local-Meat Dilemma

Local-Meat Dilemma

Over the past several years, there is an increase of consumer demand for local food -- including local meat. An USDA Economic Research Service Study was recently released. It provides some great ideas for improved communication and relationships between farmers and small processors.

Oregon State University Research Associate Dr. Lauren Gwin one of the authors of the study, shares

Gwin: “I think communication underpins all of this. Hard commitments really matter and so part of it not just pledging to talk to each other more but also how much business we can provide each other. So what we hope we are doing here is encouraging, yes, each side to look at working with each other for a longer-term business transaction. We are trying to provide in the report some examples of how it can work. And some practical things that people can put in place.”

The authors studied mechanisms that were being used throughout the country to help bolster the business between farmers and processors. Gwin shares some ideas

Gwin: “Instituting more active scheduling systems. Every processor has some type of scheduling system. But instituting a more active scheduling system -- like some of the ones we saw -- would actually go a long way to ensure that the processors weren’t idle and they really had steady through put. I think key producers for certain processors getting together every the year and figuring out how we collectively going to keep that processor busy even through the dead times. We think things like deferential pricing -- you bring us animals in the spring then you get a discount in the fall or you will get slots in the fall.” 

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