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Full-Service USDA Meat Processor Opens In Cody

Melodie Edwards
Wyoming Public Radio

The city of Cody is now home to Wyoming Legacy Meat, the first USDA-inspected full-service meat processing plant in the state in over 40 years. This will allow more ranchers to market their beef as “grass fed” and “natural” and sell it out of state.

Right now, there are several state-inspected slaughter plants and processors in Wyoming, but that meat can only be sold in-state to a limited market. That’s why most cattle are sold to feedlots, sweeping Wyoming’s beef into the nation’s bulk meat supply. 

But it’s been the dream of Wyoming Legacy Meat’s owner and longtime rancher Frank Schmidt to open a federally inspected plant. Schmidt said, the current system doesn’t give ranchers the credit, or the price, they deserve.

“We should be known as a state that produces the finest cattle anywhere,” Schmidt said. “I mean, if you think about it, our grass is as good as it gets, the air they breathe, the water they drink, the humane treatment and the way they’re handled allows these animals the best possible way to grown.”

Schmidt said he’s still working with the federal government to allow ranchers to put their own labels on the meat he processes for them.

“The ranchers should be able to obtain a larger portion of what this product is worth. I have a strong opinion about this. I think the ranchers are doing a lot of the work to feed America and they don’t get recognized,” Schmidt said.

Currently, Wyoming Legacy Meat can process no more than ten head of beef a day but Schmidt said he’s had interest from state and local agencies to help expand that in the future.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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