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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Futility of USDA ‘Restructuring’ of Red Meat Packing


Two events in August point to the futility of attempting to restructure the U.S. meat-packing industry in pursuing an anti-corporate socialist agenda, promoting small-scale enterprises at taxpayer expense.


The Commissioners for the Alachua County in Florida have decided to cease negotiations regarding a proposed taxpayer-funded meat processing plant.  The project would have created 12 jobs and processed from 4 to 15 head of cattle per working day.  The project was supported by the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences of the University of Florida, and the Santa Fe College.  The proposed plant was supported by local ranchers but was opposed by residents of the county.  In June, Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, vetoed state funding for the project. One of the obstacles to approval of the project was the reluctance of the County to improve road access.


In a separate news report, Naeve Family Beef in Camanche, IA. announced that their packing operations would cease operation after 130 years of service.  Their new plant that functioned under USDA-FSIS inspection was erected in 2022 at a cost of $12 million with a capacity to process up to 60 animals per day with 50 employees.


The current Administration has expended public funds on promoting and establishing small-scale meat processing as an alternative to the large facilities operated by the major four packers of beef and pork. The plants operated by the major packers benefit from economies of scale and integration of packing, marketing and distribution.  Attempts to restructure the existing beef and pork-packing industries by the USDA under Secretary, Tom Vilsack, was at the outset a quixotic endeavor fueled by anti-corporation sentiment and lacking any economic justification.


It is hoped that the USDA will be able to justify funds expended on small plants and that loans will be repaid with interest.  Experience gained from this exercise in government intervention into a free-market economy will serve as a guide for future administrations tempted to place their figurative, economic thumb on processing of red meat and poultry.


Copyright © 2024 Simon M. Shane