Wyoming might be the Cowboy State, but lots of livestock producers here ship their animals out of state to get slaughtered because of a lack of U.S.D.A. meat processors. But now the Laramie Planning Commission has approved a conditional use permit for a new one on the outskirts of town.
The 9,000 square foot facility will be built on the southern end of town on Highway 287 and will be able to process about 50 cows a week, making it the largest of its kind in the state.
307 Meat Company President Kelcey Christensen said, he grew up a butcher's son, then went to work at the University of Wyoming meat lab, and said it's long been his dream to help Wyoming ranchers process and market their high-quality meats. He said, these days, more consumers are interested in knowing where their meat comes from and have the disposable income to put their money where their mouth is. Christensen said Wyoming ranchers can supply that market.
"[Wyoming ranchers] have a story to tell," he explained. "Wyoming's a pretty special place. We have open and clean air, and our pastures are huge, and our animals have a lot of room to roam. And so those stories are special, and I think that's what helps market and make our product here in Wyoming pretty special."
Christiansen said Wyoming ranchers care about the quality of food consumers eat.
"[Commercial producers are] trying to produce pounds of product," he said. "And they're really not as concerned with what it's doing on the plate because they lose ownership at some point with it."
Christiansen said he's been working closely with the city of Laramie to develop a plan.
"We've worked with them a long time, over a year now, on planning this, going through waste water, our water usage, our landfill usage, those type of things, to make sure that what we're doing is going to help or benefit and not overwhelm them."
The plant will eventually employ 15 to 25 people and will be able to slaughter and process up to 50 cows a week. He hopes to break ground in April and be operational by early 2020.