A USDA sponsored study to look at the feasibility of selling local beef or lamb here met a lukewarm response in the Eastern Sierra, but the idea may still have legs. A USDA representative is expected to visit Lone Pine December 16th to wrap up the previous grant, and discuss possibilities to move forward.
Inyo/Mono Agricultural Commissioner George Milovich and Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carunchio worked to get a US Department of Agriculture grant to look into the feasibility of a natural livestock industry.
When the study was done, interest in the various proposals was not overwhelming.
The process to be certified organic or certified grass fed, seemed complex. There was also the problem of slaughtering, packaging, and inspecting the meat without a facility here in the Eastern Sierra. One idea up for discussion was a $2 million truck mounted mobile processing plant that could allow local beef to be inspected, packaged and sold locally.
The next meeting will cover what was learned by this study and see what can be done from here. Milovich explained that the idea is to see if the tribes would be interested in taking on a project like the cut and wrap facility as part of their economic development programs.
When it comes to certified organic, or grass fed Milovich explained that perhaps simply marketing local beef, would work as local beef is most likely organic anyway.
This fact finding meeting on a possible local livestock project, is scheduled for December 16 at the Mount Whitney Hostel on Main Street in Lone Pine. The meeting starts at 9:00 am.