New rule aims to cut the cost of meat by giving the state the ability to do inspections
by Christina Giardinelli and KATU Staff (OR)
August 2nd 2022
SALEM, Ore. ó As consumers, most of us understand that the meat products we buy in packages at the grocery store started off as cattle at a farm.
Many of us have noticed the price of those products has skyrocketed since the pandemic.
But Bill Hoyte, the owner of Hawley Land and Cattle, says what a lot of us don't understand is what happens in between, field to table.
"If you look at an hourglass and say all right, large population on one side, large producers on the other side of the hourglass and in-between, where it narrows down and trickles, thatís the processing," he said. "We have a huge consumer demand and a huge supply of people raising beef but very limited amount of processing facilities."
He says the lack of processing facilities is creating a bottleneck that is stopping locally raised meat from reaching consumers. There are only 12 federally approved slaughterhouses in Oregon right now where cattle farmers can send their products if they want to get the USDA safety label they need to sell their meat in stores. Wait times are long.
Another issue is the cost of gas is making it pricier for cattle farmers in rural areas to send their livestock to those slaughter facilities.
"Trucking animals from east to west has gone up almost 50%," Hoyte said.
Meat processing, like breaking down the cuts and packing the product, also requires federal licensing and Hoyte says right now there are no large-scale processors like that in Oregon...
more, including video report [2:58 min.]†