Meat

As Walmart works to build its own beef supply chains, Bloomberg reports that Walmart has made deals with Texas’ 44 Farms (of Cameron TX) and Mc6 Cattle Feeders to supply beef to 500 Walmart stores. Interesting that the pic in the article shows apparently happy cattle on lush green grass. We suspect the reality of these cattle’s lives may be quite different. Plus it appears that the cow-calf and operations are in Texas but the feedlot, slaughter and packing may be elsewhere. How much money will stay in Texas from this new deal?

What are the real opportunities and gaps in the grass-fed beef industry in Texas?  This report from New York (2015) may inform our work in Texas.  If you have thoughts, please post comments below so we can all hear you.

We talk about the need for meat processing facilities, but maybe we need to do a more thorough value chain analysis first.  It could be that what ranchers need now is marketing and branding support.  Or it could be that we do, in fact, need additional processing infrastructure.

This 2015 report from Kitchen Table Consultants found that about half of the local processors had excess capacity.  Is that because the processors are bad at what they do or because demand just isn’t strong enough yet?

“During our survey, we asked the farmers “Are you currently able to produce enough to meet the demand for your product?” 9 out of 16 (56%) farmers said no, they could not produce enough product, and that they are selling out. The other seven said that they could use some help with marketing their product.”

This report on farmer/rancher satisfaction with meat processing facilities in Pennsylvania may also be useful since they surveyed actual satisfaction with existing processors. We can’t tell when this was written but it was posted in April, 2018.  For some reason they refer to “cattle” as “cows” and we don’t know why that is.  nonetheless this may provide a model for research we could undertake in Texas.

A great resource for small meat processors is the Niche Meat Processors Network.

And a not so pleasant report on Slaughterhouse Worker Employment.