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Small Ranchers, Big Problems

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Small Ranchers, Big Problems

Photo caption: Some states have a shortage of meat processors that are USDA-inspected, limiting how much livestock farmers can raise. Photography courtesy of Grace Pond Farm. Article by Catie Joyce Bulay. Modern Farmer – January 25, 2021.

Some farmers are pushing for a bill that would allow states to set their own regulations for the retail sale of meat. It has failed to pass Congress five times.

When Rhiannon Hampson’s dairy herd births a male calf, she jumps on the phone that week to schedule its slaughter two years away. She crosses her fingers that the date she books will work or she’ll be able to trade with another farmer for the eight-hour round trip to the USDA-certified processing facility, one of only five in Maine.

A shortage of processing facilities is the biggest limiting factor for Grace Pond Farm, the small organic dairy and pastured livestock farm she and her husband Gregg Stiner own and run in the coastal Maine town of Thomaston. […]

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