Beef processing capacity issues to continue according to Huron Beef Producers president

Out-going Huron Beef Producers president Elliot Miller accepts a gift at the organization's annual meeting. Photo by Bob Montgomery.

The out-going president of the Huron Beef Producers Association told members at Wednesday night’s annual meeting that the lack of capacity for processing their animals is not going to be resolved in the near future.

“There’s a lot of demand for the meat, but there’s almost too much supply and not enough capacity to process these animals to get that end product done. So we have to look at other ways, through the States or some people are sending cattle back west again to get slaughtered, said Elliot Miller, Huron Beef Producers president.

Miller said it costs a lot to send cattle west but with the price difference between the west and here, they’re still further ahead.

“There’s really two main packers that are buying right now and there was three to four before, so they’ll pay enough, but maybe… it’s not as competitive as it used to be with more players in the market,” he said.

Miller said the current market conditions might indicate an opportunity for someone to open up another processing plant.

“There should be the opportunity for people to jump in and take that on,” Miller said. “But the cost is so heavy to try and start from scratch that it just takes the right person and the right team to do that, but, the other problem is getting enough labour to run these plants too.”

Miller said a lot of people are looking for jobs, but not many of them want to work in a packing plant.