Labor issues might limit small processor growth


Labor issues might limit small processor growth

(Doug Peterson pictured on right)

A Missouri small meat processor is expanding but labor issues might limit growth.

Green Hills Fresh Meats co-owner Doug Peterson tells Brownfield his business just completed an expansion in September thanks to a government grant, doubling its processing capacity.

“We’re hoping to fill up our capacity soon and I’m real optimistic that maybe we might have to do another expansion, that would be great,” Peterson said. “As long as we could find the labor.”

He said the skill gap in meat cutting makes hiring and retaining employees difficult.

“People don’t come in knowing how to cut meat, or how to package meat,” he said. “So, we have to teach people how to do that and there’s a right way and wrong way like everything else. That’s an additional challenge because you get them trained and then they find another job at another place for a dollar more and that’s, kind of, the market we’re into today.”

But Peterson said he’s excited about the future of the Brookfield, Missouri business.

“Producers, anymore, are looking for a place to market their cattle,” he said. “We can do private labeling, we can put farmers’ names on the products, and since we’re USDA inspected, they can sell that product to friends, family, restaurants, grocery stores, etcetera.”

Peterson said he’s surprised with the processor’s reach, getting business from places like the Kansas City area, over 100 miles away.

Brownfield interviewed Peterson at the Missouri Livestock Symposium.

Doug Peterson Interview