The Economics of Regional Meat
A whirlwind of information - roadblocks and solutions to create regional meat.
February 17, 2011
A truly regional food system includes proteins, and for many that means meat. What are the roadblocks to regional meat? Are the economics of meat very different from produce? Where should one concentrate their efforts to most effectively pave the way towards regional meat?
As the Wallace Center project “Charting Growth: Sustainable Food Indicators” reports, the concentration of the meat industry is staggering (e.g. in 2007 the 4 top beef packers controlled over 80% of the market). Those looking to build a sustainable regional food system must understand the tremendous economic forces that lead to this situation to succeed in their goal. This webinar is designed for attendees of all knowledge levels to increase the effectiveness of their regional efforts.
The webinar begins with a brief picture of the meat business across the country to set the context for its impacts on a regional level. Then our presenters from the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship (CADE) in New York identify a few specific, strategic barriers to Northeast regional meat production, and their programs, systems and ideas on how to alleviate these barriers. Topics in this section include:
- infrastructure (slaughterhouses)
- HACCP requirements
- educational resources for producers
- seasonality of beef production
- the required skill sets for sustainable processing.
For our more experienced attendees, our presenters then present a detailed, nuts and bolts focus on slaughterhouses and the culture of beef production. Finally our presenters will address a few specific questions.
Though the presentation will focus on the Northeast and beef, we believe that whatever region you work in, you will come away with valuable, pertinent knowledge from this dynamic webinar.
Chris Harmon originally hails from Indiana and graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, IN with a Bachelor of Science degree in land resource management with a focus on soil science, and a minor in energy resources. He moved to New York in 1991 to work for The Nature Conservancy as the Preserve Manager of the Lower Hudson Chapter and later became the Director of Stewardship Operations for the Eastern New York Chapter when the two chapters merged.
Chris left The Nature Conservancy in 2002 to pursue his dream of farming. With his wife and two children they purchased a 117 acre farm in Otsego County and began raising grass fed beef, pastured poultry and hogs. He sold at several farmers’ markets for six years. He now sells primarily to individuals, restaurants and CSA’s. Chris and his family now run a hundred head of beef and farm 300 acres. Harmon became the Executive Director of CADE, the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship, in 2007 after deciding to scale back his farming operation in order to spend more time with his family.
CADE, Inc. (cadefarms.org) is a non-profit agricultural development organization serving farmers and agricultural businesses in New York. Since its inception, CADE has worked to connect producers of value-added farm products to markets. The organization conducts research on agricultural opportunities and markets with the goal of building a thriving community-based regional food system. CADE is basically a non-profit consulting firm in the area of Sustainable Agriculture. They provide strategic, technical assistance to clients (farmers, distributors, slaughterhouses, creameries, and commercial kitchens) in the areas of business development, financing, accounting, e-commerce, distribution and marketing.
Chris and his wife, Kara, and two children, Toby and Addison, live in Upstate NY on Sunset View Farm in Milford, NY in Otsego County.
Nicole Day, originally from Southern New Hampshire, graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in Economics. Nicole worked as an Associate in a Labor Economics Firm for over nine years. In 1998, Nicole started a natural foods manufacturing business, Mediterranean Delights, along with her mother based in Southern Vermont specializing in all natural and certified organic perishable hummus, whole grain & pasta salads and other Mediterranean-style foods servicing retail and foodservice markets on a national level. After 12 years in the food business, Nicole moved to the Catskills and began working for the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship (CADE) www.cadefarms.org, a not-for-profit organization based in Oneonta, NY serving farmers and agricultural businesses in New York. Nicole began working at CADE as a consultant and then was asked to take the position of Director of Programming and Communications in September 2010. Nicole's position includes grant writing, programming development while also working intimately with CADE's clients on various projects including marketing plan analysis, business analysis, HACCP plan development, customer service plans, organic certification plan development and food processing/manufacturing facility development.