A study by New England agricultural officials found that slaughtering area-raised beef and selling it locally is not yet feasible, as many consumers in the area are not willing to pay a premium on locally raised beef like they are for fruits and vegetables.
The New England Beef to Institution Marketing Study said distributors and food service companies won't spend money on locally processed beef until producers invest time and energy to develop the markets and until demand rises, reports the Associated Press. The survey of 431 institutions, including schools, colleges, hospitals and school districts found that most of them are under cost pressures that may limit access to local sources of ground beef
Local farmers have stated that they would prefer to save transportation costs and send cattle to local slaughterhouses, but the region has few slaughterhouses equipped to process beef on a large scale. In addition, the study found that even if demand were high for local slaughterhouses, it's not enough to warrant construction of new plants because the return on investment would be too low. Renovating slaughterhouses, however, could be an alternative, the study said.