The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a preliminary study revealing existing gaps in the regional food systems regarding the availability of slaughter facilities to small meat and poultry producers.
The study by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is a first attempt to identify areas in the U.S. where small livestock and poultry producers are concentrated but may not have access to a nearby slaughter facility.
To support consumer demand for locally produced agricultural products, meat producers needed to have access to local or regional slaughter facilities, and the study USDA released showed that there is often a shortage of facilities needed to bring food to market, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The data creates a county-by-county view of the continental United States, indicating the concentration of small farms raising cattle, hogs and pigs, and chicken, and also noting the location of nearby state slaughter facilities and small and very small federal slaughter establishments.
These findings emphasize the need for a fundamental and critical reconnection between producers and consumers. The effort builds on the 2008 Farm Bill, which provides increases and flexibility to USDA programs in an effort to revitalize rural economies through the promotion of local food systems.
The presentation "Slaughter Availability to Small Livestock and Poultry Producers – Maps" may be found here
Source: United States Department of Agriculture