SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A new 37-page report released by the Minnesota Farmers Union looked at the problems livestock farmers face for small- and medium-sized meat processors. 

The report is called “Solving the Meat Processing Workforce Bottleneck” and it uses information from 57 interviews with meat processors throughout Minnesota. It looks at the difficulties of sustaining butcher shops for local livestock farmers to use. 

“There is a distinct bottleneck in the Minnesota small meat processing industry, exacerbated by COVID-19 and the lack of a skilled workforce,” the report reads.

You can view the full report attached below. 

Page 3 of Minnesota Meat_Bottleneck_Report
Contributed to DocumentCloud by Eric Mayer (KELO-TV) • View document or read text

Authors of the report called the following recommendations: Starting a one-year apprenticeship for workers to get hands-on training in slaughter and meat processing, creating a pool of funds for processors to access for trainee relocation packages and retention bonuses and developing business transition training materials and resources. 

“Local meat processors have been disappearing from rural Minnesota. Sustaining these businesses and encouraging them to source locally is vital for livestock farmers to access the more-profitable direct sales markets,” Paul Sobocinski said in a news release. 

Sobocinski, a Redwood County Farmers Union member and livestock producer from southwestern Minnesota, is one the report’s authors.  

The Minnesota report comes as South Dakota’s animal industry board has said it experienced an increase in inquiries for opening a meat processing establishment in 2021.

There’s also a public debate on-going between the role of slaughterhouses inside Sioux Falls city limits.