Push to prevent next meat shortage hits big obstacle

Farm fence with long shadows photographed at sunrise under blanket of fog.

MAXWELL, Iowa (AP) — Sudden meat shortages last year because of the coronavirus led to millions of dollars in federal grants to help small meat processors expand. The goal was to help the nation lessen its reliance on giant slaughterhouses to supply grocery stores and restaurants. However, the money flowing to small slaughterhouses shows no sign of solving the meat problem. There’s little doubt the grants will help small processors and in turn provide sorely needed rural jobs, but the economics of meat now centers on larger, highly efficient slaughterhouses, not smaller plants whose numbers have been decreasing sharply.

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