A new way to put meat on your table

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri Farm Bureau is giving consumers a way to connect with local farmers and meat processors directly.

With growing concerns over a national meat shortage, the Farm Bureau launched a program where people can buy meat directly from local meat producers. 

Hundreds of processors and farmers across Missouri are listed on the Farm Bureau's website.

"The program will grow because we are going to continue taking down names," Kelly Smith, senior director of marketing and commodities with the Missouri Farm Bureau, said. "I'm getting them hourly."

Nationally, consumers are talking about a meat shortage, but Smith said farmers still have the product. 

"There's not a shortage of livestock," he said. "The issue is there is a bottleneck in processing plants across the nation, the major packers, because of COVID-19 issues with workers. Hopefully this program will allow consumers to be able to access local beef, pork, lamb, and poultry from farmers in their area. It will help alleviate some of it, it will not help alleviate all of it."  

The Missouri Farm Bureau said they plan to extend this program far beyond the end of the pandemic.

It even hopes to add more farmers to the mix. 

"Farmer Bureau has members from all walks of agriculture, including produce and berry farms and more," Smith said. "I'm pretty sure that once the dust settles on this program, with livestock folks, that our members that have those types of local foods are going to want some sort of listing as well."

In the end, Smith said it all comes down to farmers and consumers appreciating each other for what they can do.

"This is just a way to connect the two," he said. "As we move forward, we hope that the program is successful in doing that and, so far, we believe it is." 

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