If you are looking to feel invigorated about the meat industry and about your business, I would highly recommend getting tickets for the next Meat Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The Class of 2014 was recently honored at a dinner in Charleston, N.C. during the final North American Meat Association Outlook Conference (The North American Meat Institute will be the name for the combined forces of NAMA and AMI, starting next year).

From the keynote address delivered by the National Cattleman’s Beef Association’s Darren Williams (see it at http://goo.gl/fb/P9sFeS) to the acceptance speeches, it was quite a rundown of some of the greatest accomplishments of the meat industry over the last few decades. It’s easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom of business at times (rising meat prices, upcoming regulations, whatever the latest misrepresentation of the meat industry is) and forget that the industry is capable of great things.

The uniting factor behind the work of these most recent inductees — and all of the previous ones for that matter —was that they were done to meet a need. There was a food safety problem, a communication problem, a production or an animal-handling problem, and they found a solution.

“Meeting a need” is what drives this industry on a daily basis, and it does it very well. In this issue of Independent Processor alone, you can read about one company’s drive to improve its sustainability, another that developed a bacon that’s just the right fit for a certain diet, and a processor that develops custom solutions for any customer need, from meatballs to deep-fried Oreos.

It’s important to be aware of all the issues facing the industry, naturally. But don’t let the bad news overwhelm you. There are many positives in this industry, and if you are doing your part to provide safe and nutritious food while meeting the needs of your customers and consumers, you are a part of it. You are valuable, and even if you haven’t made it to the Hall of Fame yet, your work is appreciated.


Sam Gazdziak