CNEDD’s Survey Identifies Need for Local Meat

CHAMBERS – The Central Nebraska Economic Development District (CNEDD) released its Livestock Demand Analysis report earlier this month. The report was a result of two years of research and surveying stemming from the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the area’s local food supply chains.

According to the CNEDD, it is intended to “document public input regarding the local processing and consumption of locally-raised beef and pork which will ultimately increase workforce opportunities for our Central Nebraska communities, making a positive impact on our region’s economy.”

The survey found that across the CNEDD’s 14-county area, which includes Custer County, there was “tremendous support for locally-raised and locally processed beef and pork and verified the need for more small, local processing plants.”

This included an overwhelmingly positive response to the option of purchasing locally-raised and locally-processed beef and pork if it was readily available; 96.5% of the 1000-plus responders said they would, while only 3.39% said they would not. Two percent of responders said they would raise their own.

Ninety percent of responders said that locally-raised and processed meats could improve nutrition.

In contrast, nearly half of the survey responders said they have had difficulty finding a local meat processor; the CNEDD defines “local” as within 75 miles of a household in question. Among those encountering problems finding local processors, 23% said they have waited between 1 and 6 months to fit into a processor’s schedule, while 28% said they had to wait 6 to 18 months before a processor’s availability opened up.

As far as the economic impact on the region, 80% of those who said they would prefer to purchase local beef and pork ranked as “very important” the idea that buying locally-raised and processed meat boosts the area’s economy.

The survey in its entirety, as well as resources for businesses looking to fill the need for local meat processing, can be found here.