Bighorn Basin Gains its 3rd State-Approved Meat Processor | Big Horn Radio Network | Wyoming

Bighorn Basin Gains its 3rd State-Approved Meat Processor

Written by on April 15, 2021

The ranching industry gets beefier in the Bighorn Basin, as another regional facility gets the stamp of approval from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.

307 Processing and Sausage is now the latest meat processing plant in the Bighorn Basin with the state’s full seal of approval. Effective April 1, 2021, the Byron-based plant received a grant of inspection from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.

It is now the third facility in the Bighorn Basin to operate as a state-inspected meat plant and the tenth in Wyoming.

The other two Bighorn Basin state-inspected meat plants are Paintrock Processing in Hyattville and Rogers Meat Processing in Powell.

The grant of state inspection means 307 Processing and Sausage has access to multiple new markets. Meat processed by the plant can now be sold anywhere in Wyoming.

Plant owner John Butler says he’s already taking orders. Restaurants, hotels, schools, and grocery stores all want a “cut” of the action.

“I have been contacted by several local producers as well as restaurants about providing meat cuts for their customers. State inspection opens the door for me to do that,” Butler says.

The COVID-19 public health emergency caused regional shutdowns of processing facilities. This caused local food supply chain disruptions and meat shortages at retail locations throughout Wyoming.

With the regional plant shut-downs,  many producers lost access to their processors. Farmers and ranchers were unable to get their meat to market because slaughter times were so delayed.

When the going got tough, custom meat processors – like 307 Processing and Sausage – became a much meatier part of the process.

307 Processing and Sausage found the demand for their meat cutting services dramatically increased during the pandemic. They worked diligently to assist local producers, providing a valuable lifeline for local industries.

Initially opening as one of the state’s nearly 30 custom meat processors, 307 Processing and Sausage has been slaughtering animals and processing meat for direct use by the individual animal owner and various smoked meats for sale under its retail exempt status.

Meat processing is already a plump industry in the Bighorn Basin, and the industry is only looking to get “fatter” in the region.

Here are the facts on the industry in 2020:

  • Agriculture is Wyoming’s third-largest industry, generating nearly $1.75 billion annually to the state’s economy
  • 63% of that annual amount comes from livestock receipts, with beef cattle being by far the largest revenue generator
  • 80% of that annual amount  – $868 million – comes from the beef industry alone
  • Hay is the second-largest agricultural commodity, which mostly goes to feed Wyoming’s beef cattle
  • Approximately 660 thousand calves  – 90 thousand from the Bighorn Basin – are marketed every year thru livestock auctions and private sales

Wyoming’s first new USDA-inspected slaughter facility in over four decades is underway in Cody. Wyoming Legacy Meats and Forward Cody will jointly own the 12,000 square foot facility, which will process 75 head of beef per day once completed.

Construction on the new Cody slaughter facility is set to begin this spring.

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