MFU president sees workforce and capital as primary obstacles for smaller meat processors
The president of Minnesota Farmers Union sees a lack of labor and funds as major obstacles facing small and medium-sized meat processors.
Gary Wertish tells Brownfield state and federal dollars are being directed toward processing plants after gaps were exposed during the pandemic.
“And it’s got to be some private-public partnerships too. But another issue is workforce. We need a trained workforce (because) there are a number of (processors) who said they would expand but they don’t have the capital and they don’t have enough workforce even if they find the capital.”
He says expanding processing capacity can’t be done overnight.
“It’s going to take a few years, but we need to work on it. You go back in time when every small town had its own local butcher shop. We don’t have them anymore, and we’ll probably never get back to that level, but we do need to get more established.”
Wertish calls opening or expanding a local meat locker a viable rural business opportunity IF people can secure the capital and workforce.