Wyoming should not only focus on growing processing capacity, but the many supporting businesses that comprise an efficient, value-added beef industry cluster, according to a study commissioned by the Wyoming Business Council.
“The study shows there is tremendous opportunity for growth in the Wyoming beef industry. It also shows significant barriers, such as lack of workforce, that will need to be worked through,” Business Council Strategic Partnerships Director Ron Gullberg said. “The agency will use this study to work with stakeholders and partners to guide the development of programs and strategies to support the beef industry in Wyoming and add value for cattle producers.”
The 64-page report’s author, Wyoming-based Orbis Advantage, recommends growing the industry incrementally.
- Identified existing meat processing plants and targeted in-state, domestic and international markets for the beef Wyoming produces today and the trends that could affect processors tomorrow.
- Identified value-added opportunities for animal byproducts (offal). A lack of market for animal byproducts in Wyoming puts processors at a $148 per-head disadvantage out of the gate.
- Assessed the ability of Wyoming’s workforce to absorb new and increased processing and other supply-chain facilities.
Some potential opportunities identified in the study include, but aren’t limited to:
- Regional profiles highlighting estimated beef production, feeding and slaughtering capacity, and beef value chain to identify products and services that are currently coming from out of state and could represent potential business development opportunities in Wyoming for local economic developers and private business to pursue.
- Direct marketing to retailers, restaurants and other beef labels to nearby urban markets including Salt Lake City, Billings and Denver.
- Capitalize on the local food movement in high tourism traffic areas through boutique butcher shops and craft beef marketing.
- Pursue supply chain opportunities in animal food manufacturing, spring and wire product manufacturing, ag chem manufacturing, ag machinery manufacturing, and cold storage.
- Wyoming “Born and Raised” verification program using individual animal ID like radio frequency identification (RFID) or blockchain. The program could verify responsible animal handling and beef quality assurance (BQA) certification. The same traceability could be used for hides to ensure the ethical production of leather.