UNDATED -- A new report paints a grim picture for area livestock processors.

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The report’s authors interviewed 57 small-to-medium-scale meat processing facilities in the state. They found most processors are at capacity and struggling to hire more employees.

In addition, only a third of business owners had thought about the future sale or transition of their business.

Paul Sobocinski, one of the report’s authors and a Redwood County Farmers Union member who raises livestock in southwestern Minnesota, says processors are disappearing at an alarming rate

Local meat processors have been disappearing from rural Minnesota. Sustaining these businesses and encouraging them to source locally is vital for livestock farmers to access the more-profitable direct sales markets.

The study, funded by the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, made several recommendations:

  • Creating a one-year apprenticeship for workers with hands-on training in slaughter and meat processing.
  • Establishing a pool of funds for processors to access for trainee relocation packages, retention bonuses and training programs.
  • Developing business transition training materials and resources


The study noted that local lockers that have a retail counter to sell their own products should be studied to replicate their success.

Paul Hugunin, Director of MDA’s Ag Marketing & Development Division, said this report will serve as a blueprint.

This report will inform our ongoing work focused on retaining and expanding these vital rural businesses.

The study was made possible with support from the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Farmers Union. Download the complete report here.

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