The most successful and wealthiest of business people have a knack for identifying opportunities where everyone else sees problems. Over the years, I have been blessed with the ability to identify a few hidden opportunities. Most of the time, however, I do not recognize the opportunity until it is too late.
One of the biggest problems for today’s livestock producers has been a severe shortage of capacity within privately-owned meat processing plants. These are locally-owned businesses that have the ability to slaughter and process meat animals like beef, pork, sheep and wild game.
Ten years ago, it was not difficult to find several processing plants within 100 miles that could take animals with less than a week’s notice. Emergency cases could be taken immediately. Five years ago, you had to schedule appointments two to eight weeks in advance. Currently, you often have to wait over one year to get an animal in. This was a problem prior to Covid-19. It is an even bigger problem today.
This screams O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y for those who are listening!
Because of the law of supply and demand, owning a meat processing plant in rural America has become an extremely lucrative business. I suspect we could increase capacity by over 10 times before we see a negative effect to profitability. There are two ways to increase capacity. 1) we can increase the number of processing plants, or 2) we can increase the capacity of existing plants.
Since I don’t have the desire to build a plant from scratch and since I have no desire to work in a processing plant, I will probably look for existing plants to invest in. Increasing the capacity of existing plants seems like the best option for me, because they already know how to meet the existing regulations and requirements. They also know how to operate and manage the day-to-day activities.