Montana producers confront meat processing backlog


CLINTON — Three weeks ago, rancher Angela Campbell was on the verge of shutting down her retail meat business, after confronting what’s been a consistent obstacle since starting: meat processing.

While Angela had the pigs and cows already primed for butchering and the demand was there for the meat itself, the facilities she looked at already had waitlists scheduled through December.

As her last reserves of the packed meat her family sells at local markets and to subscribers dwindled, she luckily found a place roughly 90 miles away in Helena that was able to squeeze in some of her livestock.

“It was one of those situations where it’s like — the animals are ready,” Angela said, gesturing to the herd of roughly 35 red Hereford cows grazing at the sixth-generation Old Medicine Ranch. “But it’s finding the butcher that’s continually been our biggest challenge.”

People are also reading…

That delay in processing results in the additional feeding of cows that would otherwise be ready for butchering.

In an already low-profit industry for small-scale meat producers like Angela, those months of delay can be costly. The price of feed has increased drastically in

View Source