CoBank Examines Impact of Wal Mart entering Beef Business

Walmart officially entered the beef business in January when it opened a case-ready beef plant in Georgia after establishing its own Angus supply chain. The facility is the latest step by Walmart in its vertical integration strategy for food, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange division. If Walmart’s new beef plant and Angus supply chain succeed, it could lead the retail giant to take another step up the supply chain towards the producer. That could be in the form of harvesting fed cattle or through a joint venture with a current packer. Will Sawyer, animal protein economist with CoBank, says, “We believe their current beef strategy is something of a test, not only for Walmart and its suppliers, but also its customers.” The new plant will cut and prepare steaks and roasts produced by Walmart’s Angus beef supply chain for 500 stores. CoBank doesn’t see the move shifting the price and leverage dynamics of U.S. beef production, adding the move will account for less than .5 percent of U.S. beef production.