The COVID-19 pandemic quickly drew consumers and decision-makers’ attention to the critical role meat processing availability plays in the food supply chain.
What presented in 2020 as a challenge has marinated into an opportunity for the food & agriculture sector to partner with legislators, regulators and others to improve farmer accessibility to meat processing facilities, and ultimately increase meat processing capacity.
In an ideal environment, these conversations and initiatives would lead to farmers having readily available livestock markets and consumers having improved access to the meat products they demand.
If this topic whets your appetite, join the Michigan Farm Bureau Hitching Post session, ‘Meat’ in the Middle, on July 20 at noon. Register for the Zoom meeting to gain live access to our expert panel, including:
- Emily Boeve, Ottawa County Farm Bureau member: Boeve farms near Zeeland alongside her family, raising Dexter cattle, sheep and goats for breeding stock and market. Their herd supplies the family’s own retail sales, including at area farmers markets.
- Jimmy Love, Chippewa County Farm Bureau member: Love owns and operates Love Meats in Rudyard.
- Tina Conklin, MSU Product Center Associate Director and MSU Food Processing and Innovation Center Director.
- Ernie Birchmeier, manager of MFB’s Center for Commodity, Farm and Industry Relations and the organization’s livestock and dairy specialist.
Serving as moderator, Birchmeier said ‘Meat’ in the Middle will explore how industry consolidation and the pandemic brought about renewed interest, discussions and possible solutions to the meat processing industry. He also explained the significance of this issue to Farm Bureau’s member-driven policy.
“Last year county Farm Bureaus submitted numerous policy recommendations related to the meat processing sector, which led to our members crafting a new policy entirely dedicated to the topic” Birchmeier said. “I’m looking forward to this conversation because I think it will shed light on how we can advocate for legislative and regulatory changes and how Farm Bureau members can influence and educate our decision-makers on these issues.”
“I’m also excited to hear from our panelists about their first-hand experience dealing with these issues and the potential they see in their local communities for stability and growth.”
Read more about Farm Bureau policy on meat processing:
- MFB Policy #27 Michigan Meat Processing Industry
- MFB Policy #26 Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
- AFBF Policy #340 Food Quality and Safety
- AFBF Policy #312 Packers and Stockyards Act
- AFBF Policy #310 Livestock Marketing
- AFBF Policy #358 Inspection and Grading of Meat, Poultry and Seafood Products
Follow the Hitching Post
If you’re unable to participate but are still interested in the content, a recording will be published to the MFB YouTube Channel.