Byron meat processor earns state certification

Posted 4/29/21

It’s great news for producers and consumers who are hungry for Wyoming-raised beef: 307 Processing and Sausage has become the latest state-inspected processing facility. 

This will …

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Byron meat processor earns state certification


It’s great news for producers and consumers who are hungry for Wyoming-raised beef: 307 Processing and Sausage has become the latest state-inspected processing facility. 

This will allow the company to sell meat processed at the Byron plant in grocery stores, restaurants and schools. 

In January 2019, John Butler purchased Marketplace Meats from Dale and Nancy Robinson, and renamed it 307 Processing. Since taking over the plant, Butler has been working to meet all the requirements for the state inspection approval. In state-inspected plants, inspectors are onsite to examine slaughtered animals prior to processing as well as during processing activities.

“It’s all about food safety,” Butler said. “To get a grant of inspection, each process must be documented and assessed for food safety hazards. These hazards have to be addressed in our procedures and documented so it all can be reviewed by the state inspectors.”

Butler said he’s received interest from local producers, as well as restaurants that want to provide cuts of Wyoming meat for their customers. 

There are only two other state inspected facilities in the Big Horn Basin: Roger’s Meat in Powell and Byron and Paintrock Processing in Hyattville. Wyoming Legacy Meats in Cody is a federally inspected facility, meaning it can retail meat processed at the plant across state lines. 

In October, Forward Cody received a $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, which will support an expansion of Legacy Meats. Along with a $553,108 loan from Pinnacle Bank, the funding will build a new 12,000 square foot expansion, allowing the facility to process about 75 head per day. 

Dave Peterson, owner of the Proud Cut Saloon in Cody, lobbied to change City of Powell ordinances last year to allow for the slaughter of animals within the city limits, in anticipation of opening a processing facility on the south side of town. The council gave Peterson approval to move forward, but the facility hasn’t begun operating. 

Most local processing plants are booked out for months. Paintrock Processing owner Tommy Searfoss said his facility is only booked out a month, but he said the plant operates six or seven days a week, processing 70 to 80 animals per month. 

“We go pretty hard out here,” Searfoss said.

Junior Garcia, co-owner of Roger’s Meat, said they’re booked out until September. Butler said 307 Processing is booking into December and January — and they’ve had lead times like that for a while. 

“In September, we were booking slaughter dates into May,” said Butler.

When the pandemic reduced the output of the major meat packers last year, meat shelves at the grocery store went bare and prices went up. Wyoming producers, however, saw their prices dip, and there wasn’t a whole lot they could do about it. Four big conglomerates control 80% of the meat processing capacity in this country. Even combined, the smaller packers throughout the state don’t have the capacity to process all of Wyoming’s cattle ready to process at any given time.

Butler has over 40 years of experience in the business. His father, John Butler Sr., owned Cody Meats, which was also a state-inspected facility, and Butler Jr. learned the business from his father. 

“Ever since I was 10 and could hold a knife, I was in the shop with my father processing meat,” Butler said. “I grew up in the business.”

307 Processing and Sausage offers processing packages for domestic livestock as well as wild game.