Pennsylvania independent grocer Karns Foods has introduced the Karns Beef Program, a transformative agriculture model that localizes the PA Preferred beef supply chain, making the company the first grocery retailer in the United States to produce, raise and manage a private beef herd in partnership with family farms, as well as the first grocery chain to receive PA Preferred beef designation certification from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Participating in last month’s launch ceremony in Honey Brook, Pa., were Karns President Scott Karns; Russell C. Redding, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture; Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, a member of the House Agriculture Committee; State Rep. Dan Moul, chair of the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee; State Rep. David Zimmerman; and Larisa Miller, CEO of Keystone Farm Future, which provides oversight and management for the grocer’s program.
“Since 1959, Karns has been known for our fresh, high-quality beef and custom cuts butchering,” said Scott Karns. “Creating our own private beef program allows us to take control of the beef supply chain to source, select, and responsibly raise prime Angus beef cattle on nearby family farms, several of which are transitioning from dairy farms to more sustainable beef farms.”
Added Karns: “From their arrival at our induction hub in Chester County to managing their life cycle on local farms in central Pennsylvania, our Karns Beef will be carefully chosen, fed and cared for through their entire lifespan. This separates and protects us from the vulnerability of the national beef supply chain and localizes every aspect of our own PA Preferred beef supply. We will provide our customers with the highest quality PA Preferred 100% Angus Choice and Prime beef beginning in May 2022.”
“This COVID era has revealed the fractures in our global food supply chain, and we are reimagining a new way forward in agribusiness by accelerating opportunities for local food production from farm to fork,” noted Miller.
The Karns Beef Program began with 15 farmers in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster, Chester, Perry, Lebanon, Juniata and Cumberland counties, who receive and raise the steers, ranging from 40 head to 107 head of Angus. The induction facility, where the Karns Beef herd arrive and are monitored before being transferred to participating family farms, is on the King Farm, in Honey Brook.
“With farming being integral to the fabric of Pennsylvania, this innovative model for beef allows Pennsylvania to be the keystone of innovation in agriculture,” noted Redding. “Offering consumers high-quality, local PA Preferred beef while providing our beef and transitioning dairy farmers with a way forward, and keeping family farms in operation, we can ensure that the Pennsylvania agriculture industry will be a vanguard of food security for generations to come.”
The USDA Graded PA Preferred 100% Angus Choice and Prime beef produced through the program will be available at Karns Foods beginning this May.
Mechanicsburg, Pa.-based Karns Foods operates 10 Pennsylvania locations open every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. President and CEO Scott Karns is the son of founder David Karns, who began the company in 1959.