Many of our community members have been asking for meat products through FarmTable and have noticed the diminishing supply of such products over 2020. Our favorite local meat and poultry producers are facing an evolving crisis. Locally, Oregon’s USDA meat-processing facilities are experiencing a backlog due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some cases, this backlog is nearly a year long before slaughter dates become available again.
This has put an incredible strain on the livelihoods of the North Coast’s food producers. It has also greatly impacted our local food system both on the North Coast and throughout the state.
Federal law requires that meat and poultry sold for retail/wholesale markets be processed at a federally inspected facility. Currently 27 states have cooperative inspection programs that are equal to federal inspection and are overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA, FSIS) but Oregon does not. This means that facilities in Oregon wishing to sell meat to retail/wholesale markets must be inspected by USDA. This lack of state infrastructure for meat processing has added to the backlog in meat processing for Oregon producers. You can learn more about this and the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s plan to start a state meat inspection program here.
As we continue to advocate on behalf of our local producers, we are still without a clear timeline on when this backlog will be caught up. In the meantime, we ask that you continue supporting North Coast local food producers by buying local either through our FarmTable storefront or by purchasing from them directly. You can also find local food in Clatsop County through North Coast Food Web (a partner of Food Roots)’s own local food marketplace online here. This is our community. These are our family, friends and neighbors.
We know the power of our region’s local food system. And we believe that vibrant local food systems build resilient communities. Stay tuned as the situation evolves. We will keep you updated as we learn more!