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Agricultural News

Main Goal For Starting Beef Task Force Is To Benefit Oklahoma Cattle Producers Says Task Force Member And OCA Executive Director Michael Kelsey

Tue, 30 Jun 2020 16:55:01 CDT

Main Goal For Starting Beef Task Force Is To Benefit Oklahoma Cattle Producers Says Task Force Member And OCA Executive Director Michael Kelsey The success of a joint task force started this spring between the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association will ultimately come down to how much did it benefit the Oklahoma beef producer. Michael Kelsey, executive director of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, told Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays that is the key to why the task force was started.

The motive behind this task force was how do we benefit beef cattle producers and build jobs in rural Oklahoma, Kelsey said.

The task force has met weekly through Zoom virtual conferencing, Kelsey said, and it’s been a great educational experience, with every idea on the table.

One of the ideas the task force has talked about is how to handle rendering the byproducts of a meat processing plant, the hides and offal.

Perhaps a more pressing issue is expanding the weekly cattle processing capacity.

There are about 8-900 hook spaces in Oklahoma, and we have a great need to add to that, Kelsey said.

We’ve looked at everything from the small local entities up to the larger major plants that process several thousand head a day, he said.

There are several big challenges to building larger facilities.

Number one, the cost is atrocious, millions of dollars, labor, environmental impact studies and more, Kelsey said.

We’ve really been more focused on smaller, more niche market custom plants, he said.

The OCA official said education is one of the key priorities right now. To that end, there is an educational webinar Thursday, July 2 featuring Dr. Lee Denney, USDA Rural Development director for Oklahoma, and Brent Kisling, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

They have state and federal resources available for new businesses, some of which we may not even be aware of, Kelsey said.

Another area the task force is working on is product liability.

One of the overlooked possibilities we often overlook is liability, Kelsey said.

We need to make sure folks protect themselves, their business and the industry as a whole, Kelsey said.

An immediate tangible idea that will be addressed soon is adding meat inspectors and food safety.

We just do not have enough inspectors, Kelsey said.

The group is exploring different funding ideas, including possible user fees and state funding.

At the end of the day, one of the groups’ measuring sticks for success would be growing the hook space to maybe 3,000 per week in two years, Kesley said.

The task force is also focused on the long-term future of the industry.

We don’t want to build a new facility and then have it close in two years because the market shifted, Kelsey said.

Click here for more information on Thursday’s educational webinar.

You can hear more of Ron’s interview with Michael Kelsey by clicking on the listen bar bedlow.


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