UPDATE: Legislators petition Gov. Beshear to take action on meat processing development

UPDATE POSTED OCTOBER 12, 2021 AT 11:38 A.M.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – Members of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture, Co-Chaired by Representative Richard Heath of Mayfield, met last week to discuss several pressing issues within the state regarding cattle production and processing. Legislators heard testimony detailing the current state of the cattle market and initiatives Kentucky can take to employ an environment of growth for one of our leading industries.

During testimony from the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association, members voted to draft a letter addressed to the Governor that would ask the Economic Development Cabinet to work with beef processing developers to open locations within the commonwealth.

“Kentucky is an industry leader in beef and cattle production. Right now, the state has to outsource a lot of our processing, and we just don’t have the infrastructure to prevent further supply chain disruptions,” said Co-Chair Richard Heath. “It’s about watching over the little guy. We need homegrown resources to keep up with the growing supply and demand.”

Kentucky is currently home to 38,000 cattle producing farms, raising more than 2.1 million cattle and calves. Through supply chain disruption due to transportation and labor shortage issues brought on by the pandemic, the need for more infrastructure is critical. To better serve one of our key industries, it is important to take every step possible to ensure the state is inviting to future developments.

For full details of the meeting, please visit legislature.ky.gov or follow the link here for the meeting materials. To watch the full meeting, visit the Legislative Research Commission YouTube page here.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED OCTOBER 7, 2021 AT 5:48 P.M.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The cattle industry has a huge impact on Kentucky. However, issues with the food supply chain have put beef producers in a bind.

Beef is not just what’s for dinner, but it also has a major impact on Kentucky.

Farmers put in long days and hard work to ensure that families have good protein on their plates. Yet, that mission gets harder when the food supply chain faces issues.

“You know, we have got to pay attention to our food – food supply and food security and let’s look how we get it back to regional or local and I think that’s a huge thing,” said David Maples, Executive Vice President of the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association.

Inclement weather, labor shortages and transportation problems are also causing difficulty. Adding in the pandemic, the food supply chain has taken a big hit over the past year. And it is not just farming communities who have felt that.

“This is not just about the people that live in rural America,” said Maples. “This is about the people that live in the cities. Cause it’s about food and food security.”

According to experts in the cattle industry and lawmakers, by bring in domestic meat processors to the Commonwealth, we address not just our needs, but the needs of other states as well.

“I think it’s one thing that could really impact the beef cattle industry and like you said, every county in the state of Kentucky – and not only that, but where it’s located, regionally, other states – and so it would just compound many times,” said Chris Cooper, President of the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association.

The message seems to be clear; in order to keep grocery stores stocked and food on the table, Kentucky needs to do all it can to give the food supply chain a necessary boost.

After all, no one is happy when they’re hungry.

“You know it’s alright to not be able to go buy a pair of Wrangler’s or not to have a sofa or a bed,” shared Maples. “Now Senator West, I’m gonna tell you, my wife is not going to be happy and she’s not happy when Rachel doesn’t have protein or groceries in the grocery store.”

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