LYONS, NEBRASKA – As consumer preference continues to shift toward local food, producers are working hard to meet this demand. However, supply chain challenges remain. That is especially true for the farmers and ranchers who raise livestock. Locker appointments can be hard to come by, and the wait time at U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected facilities can stretch beyond one year.
Nebraska lawmakers will consider much-needed legislation to fund the Independent Processor Assistance Program during the upcoming legislative session. In the meantime, producers may be able to overcome this supply chain bottleneck by utilizing a herd share program. This is the topic of a new guide recently released by the Center for Rural Affairs.
“Until the Independent Processor Assistance Program is fully funded, direct purchase from local producers is available only to those who can afford and store large quantities of meat or live near one of the several U.S. Department of Agriculture facilities licensed in the state,” said Johnathan Hladik, policy director for the Center. “A herd share agreement provides an alternative where multiple individuals can establish an ownership interest in the same animal, which entitles the consumer to meat processed in one of the numerous custom exempt locker plants across the state.”
Hladik said use of herd share programs in Nebraska and Wyoming have already made it easier for consumers to purchase meat from a local producer,
“This guide gives producers the information and resources they need to establish agreements with customers,” he said. “Herd share is a chance for the processor to grow their business, creating jobs and activity on Main Street.”
To view and download a copy of the guide, visit cfra.org/publications.
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