Long Time Coming
Published on March 21, 2020
A few years ago, when Gov. Matt Mead developed the Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming (ENDOW) process, agriculture was one of the top components. Later in the process, when the Rural Council was added, beef and the needs to process beef in the state became a top goal.
As a result of those discussions, the Wyoming Beef Industry Study was initiated by the Wyoming Business Council (WBC) this past year. The WBC hired a consultant group to do the research and write the report.
According to the WBC, “This report provides an overview of the economic impact of the Wyoming meat processing industry and identifies business challenges and opportunities for existing companies.”
In the meantime, we all kept hearing rumors about companies building small-to-medium beef processing plants around the state. While there was some serious talk going on, the one in Laramie was the only one developed and so the rumors have stopped.
There were many questions surrounding the construction of a beef plant. Does Wyoming have the workforce available? Could an adequate supply of water be found to meet the needs of the plant? What would be done with the offal? Where would the beef products be marketed? All of these concerns have been talked about for years.
While some in the state have been marketing their top beef products in Taiwan, not much else has been going on, until now. This study is close to 100 pages and further divided into three sections – a beef market study, offal products study and a workforce study.
The study also looked into current meat processing plants in the state and currently what marketing for Wyoming beef is going on.
Surprisingly, Wyoming currently has the capacity to slaughter around 21,320 head annually through both its federal and state inspected facilities. We realize Wyoming has issues with both meeting workforce needs and a sustainable year-round supply of cattle. We hope both can be resolved.
We do want some smaller or medium sized plants around the state. I think the opportunity for Wyoming-based beef products would sell well in some Asian countries and large cities in America.
But, that is why we have studies, to get the best information there is to base the economics on. These plants have to be sustainable on their own merits to succeed.
Through good marketing, Wyoming’s beef products can fill the needs of consumers. People look to Wyoming for its clean open spaces, rivers and mountains. A beef product would fit right in. But, again that’s why the study was done.
We thank Gov. Gordon, our legislators and the Wyoming Business Council for initiating the study. This study outlines the opportunities and limitations, in Wyoming we have learned to deal with both and have managed successfully.
If you are in the cattle business, I urge you to look the study over. In these troublesome times as we are not traveling so much, we should have some extra time. You can find the study on the Wyoming Business Council’s website.
They did a good job putting this study together, I hope it has shelf life.