The Powder River Basin Resource Council's Bill Bensel says without a USDA meat plant in Wyoming local meats can’t get to state schools and stores. However, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture's Derek Grant says that’s not true.
“Our producers can take their livestock to those meat plants and then sell the products in the state of Wyoming to restaurants and school and individuals.”
Bensel says the problem is that there are too few slaughtering plants—only 12 state wide—to make it economically feasible for ranchers to process in-state.
“We export a lot of cash out of state on the hoof,” Bensel says. “Let’s keep it here and supply what people want. And also supply those out of state who want a good Cowboy State cut of beef.”
Bensel says the lack of processing plants means ranchers ship their cattle out of state where it becomes part of the national bulk meat supply.
This story provides a clarification to a story below in Related Content, "Building a Local Food System In A Rural State."