Wolf Pack Meats is closing Oct. 31.
As a land grant university, the University of Nevada, Reno is required to teach practical agriculture. Wolf Pack Meats, according to the UNR website, is “one of the leading national educational facilities where students get first-hand experience in meat production and retail distribution.”
While it’s true that the majority of Nevada cattle are shipped out of state to feedlots and then to massive processing facilities, many ranchers and farmers produce and sell meat to their local communities. The only legal way to sell meat in Nevada is if it is processed in a USDA facility unless sold in shares. For example, a beef can be sold in quarters, but if you want a rib-eye steak, it has to be processed under USDA.
What will happen to local food production?
Wolf Pack Meats has served local ranchers and farmers since the mid-1960s but has really gained traction in the past 15 years. It has been my USDA processor of choice before and since I purchased the historic Storke Dairy in Gardnerville and began raising my Carson Valley Meats brand of locally grown beef, pork and lamb at the dairy.
The sudden closure of Wolf Pack Meats creates an enormous void in the Northern Nevada food chain. It is the last full-time USDA processing facility in the northern half of the state, and the only reliable plant to process more than just beef. Many ranchers, besides Carson Valley Meats, will be impacted.
Our alternative is to ship our livestock to California to be processed, and then IF it is to be sold in Nevada, it must be shipped back. The economic and environmental impact on our state is immeasurable, and the additional strain it puts on our local food chain and regional producers places negative results on Nevada’s ability to sustain itself. Nevada will become even more food-dependent on states like California.
We hope that when, or if, Wolf Pack Meats re-opens, they continue to serve the small producers in rural Nevada. Read more about it from CarsonNow: https://carsonnow.org/story/09/20/2022/financially-unstable-wolf-pack-meats-close-until-early-2023-search-new-vendor-ranch
What does this mean for the future of locally produced food in Nevada?
It’s not only ranchers and farmers dedicated to providing locally sourced meats to communities who suffer.
Students in Nevada schools who participate in 4-H, FFA, The Grange and other agricultural-based education programs will be denied the opportunity to learn how to raise, care for, market and sell livestock. Wolf Pack Meats serves as the main processor for the Nevada Junior Livestock Show and others in the region. This may irreparably harm Nevada’s culture and heritage of agriculture for future generations of Nevada families.
Food dependency on other states is getting more and more unsustainable
The rejection of our proposed processing facility, first in Douglas County, and second in Carson City, was short-sighted and damaging to the rural heritage of our state by placing all the responsibility for processing Nevada’s main agricultural crop – livestock – on one facility, which is now closing.
We would welcome the opportunity to re-open discussions on the topic of opening a regional processing facility with local governments who have the foresight to ensure their populations will have access to ranch-fresh, locally sourced proteins.