New England looks to expand local beef industry

By STEPHEN SINGER | June 3, 2011 | 3:14 AM EDT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — New England officials are looking to make the region more self-sufficient by growing more of its own food, and they've recently commissioned a study to look at ways to expand beef production there.

Farmers say one problem is the region has few slaughterhouses. Cattle must be shipped elsewhere for slaughter and the meat brought back to New England to be sold.

A spokeswoman for the Vermont Agency for Agriculture says the six New England states together have only 28 slaughterhouses. In contrast, Wisconsin alone has about 285.

Other states also are looking at ways to boost beef production. The University of Georgia is studying the market in the Southeast, and Maryland organizations are testing ways to boost the use of beef and other local meats in health care facilities there.