WEST VIRGINIA (WTRF) — The new West Virginia Ground Beef program hopes to keep food local in the Mountain State and make it more affordable for consumers, according to Farm and Dairy.

The program is a brand partnership between Buzz Food Service and the West Virginia Cattlemen’s Association.

Previously, much of West Virginia’s cull cows were transported to the Midwest for processing, but West Virginians in the industry came up with the idea to process cows in-state. Todd Meckley, who runs a farm in Tyler County, and Neil Bumgarner, a Mason County beef producer, are the brains behind the idea.

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That’s when Buzz Food Service stepped up to build and operate a USDA-inspected slaughter and processing facility. The facility, Appalachian Abattoir, is located in Charleston and opened in spring 2022.

Buzz Food Service and the West Virginia Cattlemen’s Association collaborated with help from West Virginia University Extension and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. Appalachian Abattoir received a $499,568 grant last November from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Local Food Promotion Program.

Consumers will now be able to trace the origins of the beef they purchase. Mountain State Ground Beef should be available in stores in this fall.