As the old saying goes—if life gives you a challenge, turn your shed into a meat processing shop and chomp down on a juicy porterhouse steak. Well that might be a bit of a stretch for most people, but for Brandon and Katelyn Nelson of rural New York Mills, that’s just what they were able to do.
The new owners of Midwest Meat just off of Highway 10 have converted some old outbuildings near their home, into a new custom exempt processor. Starting a meat processing facility has been something the family has discussed on and off for a number of years, but with an already busy schedule with children and their construction business, the timing never really felt right.
That’s when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the area and provided the family an opportunity to step back and begin planning what a meat processing plant could look like at their home.
“We kicked it around for a couple of years,” said Katelyn. “The timing was just right.”
Already pork and beef producers, the Nelson’s not only had some extra time on their hands, they also found themselves unable to find a place to get their animals processed in a timely manner due to a backlog of animals at area processing plants.
Hearing of a similar need for additional processing plants from other pork and beef producers, the family converted some outbuildings at their rural NY Mills home into a custom meat processing facility.
“It was the perfect opportunity with everyone being so busy,” said Brandon. “It was a chance to give back to the community.”
Of course having a father who has cut meat almost his whole life never hurts when planning and operating a meat processing plant as well. Jack Nelson, Brandon’s father, will be running meat processing side of Midwest Meat. He has cut meat at a number of facilities over the years, including at a local facility.
“This is great for his dad. He is a meat cutter,” said Katelyn.
Construction on the new facility began on Oct. 22. At the time they started construction, the Nelson’s were told the process could take up to two years to complete. Just over three months later and the finishing touches are already taking shape at the new facility. The plan is to open the second week of February, provided all of the necessary work is completed on time.
One thing that will make Midwest Meat a bit unique from some other facilities is that they will be offering farm site butchering. As producers, Brandon said the family has always preferred to have their meat butchered at the animal’s home, as opposed to bringing it on a trailer to be butchered at a processing plant. The family said it is not only more humane, but also results in the animal being less stressed when it is loaded onto a trailer prior to being brought to the processing plant.
“I feel like it really increases the quality of the animal. They never leave their environment,” said Brandon. “I feel like it is the most humane way of getting the meat processed. For us as producers that was one of the biggest draws.”
Once the animal is butchered on site, the quarters of the beef and pork will be brought back to the Midwest Meat processing plant in rural NY Mills. The new facility is complete with smoke houses and will be offering processing for jerky, ham, bacon, snack sticks and more.
As they wrap up the finishing touches at the facility, the Nelson’s are still seeing a real need for additional processing plants in the region. They already have 50 animals on their schedule and are taking appointments for additional animals.
For more information, or to make an appointment, contact (218) 298-4908 or visit Midwest Meat online at www.midwestmeatmn.com.