pasture-to-process-logosGolden Leaf Foundation is helping CEFS provide “Pasture to Process” programs for meat producers in North Carolina.  The Foundation awarded CEFS two years of funding (2014-2015) to “enhance economic viability across local niche meat supply chains.”  The funding will allow greater integration of two CEFS programs: Amazing Grazing, a pasture-based livestock educational initiative, and NC Choices, an initiative that advances local meat supply chains through networking opportunities, educational programming and technical assistance.

Together, the programs will offer meat producers support and resources at every step from pasture management through the processing and marketing of their final product.  “It’s a natural fit,” says NC Choices Coordinator Sarah Blacklin.  “This grant allows us to be intentional and targeted with our efforts.  By collaborating across the supply chain these producers are connected to processors, buyers and key stakeholders to help resource and advance their business needs.”

Many beef producers in North Carolina manage “cow/calf” operations, meaning that they breed and raise the cattle in NC and then send them out-of-state for finishing, slaughter and processing.  However, the growing market for niche meats in the state has some producers considering finishing and selling their cattle here.  “More and more

[meat] producers who don’t typically finish and sell their meat here in North Carolina are experimenting with niche meats.  Our job is to help inform their decision-making process by making resources readily available to them,” says Blacklin.

It is exciting to see the niche meats community embrace an ecological approach to managing their pasture feed resource,” says Matt Poore, Coordinator of CEFS’ Pasture-Based Beef Unit and Director of Amazing Grazing.   “Joining forces with NC Choices will help us teach producers to raise high quality meat in a pasture-based environment.”

From the September 2014 E-Newsletter