Cattle processing: Sexy? No. Important? VERY. In the coming year, our neighbor state is going to have two new meat processing facilities open. Each plant will be able to handle 500 head per day.

One of the many lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic has been about the importance of meat processing plants. "Meat shortages" have occurred periodically due to bottlenecks in the meat packing chain.

A new meat packing plant will open in Idaho Falls, ID in the Fall of 2021. Another facility is slated to open in Jerome, ID, (We do not have an opening target date for the Jerome facility yet.)

Each of these new facilities cited that they'll be able to process 500 head of cattle or bison per day. (Approximately 800,000 head are killed for food in the U.S. each day.)

These two processing plants will be owned by two different companies. The Idaho Falls plant is planning to handle cattle and bison. The Jerome facility is planning to handle cattle.

  • DATA: Guess what? According to the USDA, in 2019 the average consumer ate 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry!
  • WHERE'S THE BEEF? According to - Texas has the most cattle in the United States followed by Nebraska & Kansas.
  • FUN EVENT: Did you know there is an American Cured Meat Championships (ACMC)? It's true! There are hundreds of products entered into this contest, in approximately 30 categories. Specialists and meat scientists are the judges! There's an entire category dedicated to Andouille Sausage.

Anyone who is a processor member of the American Association of Meat Processors, produces their own products, and is a registered attendee of the convention, may enter the ACMC competition.

The Northern Ag Network is a great resource for further details on this topic and all things Ag in Montana.

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