Interest in local sourcing for meat has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the University of Wyoming, and a UW Extension specialist says local ranchers have long been able to sell quarters and halves of animals to customers.
Cole Ehmke, a rural entrepreneurship specialist, says animals purchased for an individual’s own use don’t have to be slaughtered at a USDA slaughter and processing facility.
He says a producer usually contacts the custom processor on the customer’s behalf and arranges for delivery. The butcher will cut the animal according to the buyer’s preference, and include further processing such as for sausage or smoking.
Local food networks are developing to help local buyers find local sources for meats. Caitlin Youngquist, who’s in the UW Extension office in Worland, says sourcing local products like meat could support economic development in small towns.
She said she’s seeing tremendous interest in local sourcing, and adds she hopes people will continue to buy local products long after the pandemic ends.