The American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), North America’s largest meat trade association, welcomes the Kentucky Association of Meat Processors (KAMP) as its newest state affiliate. AAMP now has 30 state and regional associations among its affiliates.
“KAMP was formed to create a network of meat processors operating in Kentucky to allow for better communication of information pertinent to our industry, the open exchange of ideas and challenges, and closer ties between processors. KAMP will work to represent processors across the state in helping solve issues that face the industry,” said Jennifer Hardin, KAMP Executive Secretary. She said that there had been a state association in Kentucky that dissolved decades ago. This new association formed in 2022 and officially got off the ground this year.
“The reviving of the association will help lead to a better-unified meat processing industry in the state. It will give meat processors the opportunity to work with others in the industry and provide help to reach common goals of processors,” Hardin adds.
There are more than 100 small meat processors in Kentucky, most of which are family-owned businesses, as well as a handful of poultry processors and country ham producers. There is a mix of both USDA-inspected and custom processors. KAMP will work to provide a unified voice and representation at both a state and national level. One of the association’s current initiatives, Hardin says, is to find ways to better recruit, train and retain employees.
The KAMP Board of Directors is as follows:
- John Edwards, Trackside Butcher Shoppe, Campbellsburg, KY
- Chris Milam, Hampton’s Premium Meats, Hopkinsville, KY
- Dr. Randy Smoot, Green River Meats (under construction), Campbellsville, KY
- Allison Boone Porteus, Boone’s Butcher Shop, Bardstown, KY
- Rich Albrecht, Thompson Equipment & Supply (Supplier Member)
- Dr. Gregg Rentfrow, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture (Ex Officio Board Member)
- Myrisa Christy, Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD) (Ex Officio Board Member)
- Warren Beeler, Western Kentucky University (Ex Officio Board Member)
Any processor who joins KAMP will gain access to a group of fellow meat processors offering a network of individuals with similar needs and experiences. KAMP will serve as a proactive voice for meat processers at a local, state and national level, and it will help encourage development of university and extension programs to benefit the industry. The association has planned a joint event with the Indiana Meat Packers & Processors Association for September 8-9, 2023. The “Bratwurst & Bourbon Tour” will involve a visit to a local meat processor as well as some bourbon distilleries, ending with a dinner in Louisville.
“Teaming up with the Indiana association allows us the chance to network with even more processors. We will have suppliers joining us as well,” Hardin says.
Hardin notes that Kentucky processors have operated for decades without the support of an association behind them. “We want our processors to know that you are not alone in running your business, and we want to offer support. By joining KAMP, our meat processing in the state will only strengthen, and we will have a much louder voice,” Hardin says. “As an organization we have jumped right into addressing many of the issues that face meat processors. We have gone beyond just getting our feet wet, and I am working daily to provide ways that strengthen our industry in the state. We are addressing regulation issues, grant funding, workforce development and several other areas that impact our state's plants.”