Farmers struggle in wake of Wolf Pack Meats closure

Wolf Pack Meats closing temporarily
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 5:50 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Wolf Pack Meats, a hub for small ranchers in several states, is temporarily closing its doors on October 31st.

The meat processing plant, run by the University of Nevada, Reno, is one of a few USDA approved facilities in our area.

“There’s going to be a short term pain, perhaps because we’re shut down temporarily but once we get established then we’ll be able to serve them much better,” said Chris Pritsos, the Director of the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station.

But that pain might not be short term for many farmers who had their animals on the books to be processed.

“We were scheduled to take some pigs in last week and we were notified the Friday before at about four o’clock that they were going to be shutting down Wolf Pack Meats,” said Karin Sinclair, owner of Carson Valley Meats.

Many of these farmers had their animals scheduled through the end ofthe year and now, they’re scrambling to find another option.

Most of them will make long drives to make it happen.

“Now, we’re talking time and fuel [and] stress on the animal, which then changes the quality of the animal itself and then the time and fuel to go back, pick up that animal and then bring it all the way back,” said Wendy Baroli, owner of Girlfarm.

“By that time, we’re literally pricing ourselves out of the market.”

Wolf Pack Meats says staffing issues and financial instability are driving the closure. But Pritsos says they hope to reopen with a new vendor managing the operations in January.

“Because of the staffing shortages and stuff, we just haven’t been able to produce the way that we would like to,” he said.

But in the meantime, our area, already short on processing plants, could see a ripple affect when it comes to the availability of local meats.

“There are so many ranchers, not only in Nevada, but also in California, Oregon, Idaho that come down to this facility,” said Sinclair.

“I know some folks that are selling to local restaurants that, I don’t know what’s going to happen because I know for a fact that they take their animals to Wolf Pack,” said Baroli.

Many farmers say this temporary closure shines a light on the broader issue, a void in Nevada’s food chain.