Michigan Meat Processing

Interactive map of meat processing and slaughter facilities in Michigan 

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Michigan Meat Processing Capacity Assessment Final Report

Published August 2014 by Jeannine Schweihofer, Sarah Wells, Steve Miller, Rich Pirog

A survey was developed to capture the state of the meat industry in Michigan to further develop outreach and extension programs. Surveys were distributed via mail or email to meat processors throughout Michigan. There were 111 surveys returned and results were analyzed. Survey results indicate that meat processing operations in Michigan are diverse. The majority of meat processors in Michigan are small or very small in size. Retail exempt operations were the most common and less than half of establishments that responded that they slaughter livestock. Beef jerky, bacon and other cured meats were the most common types of processed meats. While processed meats were most common, fresh beef (meat) was also a common signature item for businesses. Location choices of processors appeared to be influenced by their operations, with the distance to the next nearest slaughter facility generally being greater for USDA inspected operations compared to custom exempt slaughter facilities. Few non-USDA inspected businesses were interested in becoming USDA inspected. The majority of the businesses were owned by males, and the average age of owners was about 54. Slightly more than half of the operations have a succession plan in place for their business. Membership to an organization or association was common among respondents. The majority of all respondents kept electronic records for financial and/or daily operational purposes although some kept both written and electronic records. Word of mouth and other electronic means (website, social media) were the most common methods of advertisement used by establishments. Most meat is purchased as fresh boxed meat. Most processors indicated that costs were the primary consideration in setting price, though a sizable share also tracked market prices when determining the prices they charge. Facility age varied significantly, based on year established, but the majority of operations had gone through some type of renovation in the last 15 years. Most operations employ less than five individuals and hire additional help during the peak processing time from late summer through fall. Challenges identified by respondents included trouble finding qualified workers, food safety regulations, and cost of utilities. Respondents reflect an optimistic outlook for their businesses with future growth potential.