Walmart Inc. announced Wednesday that it has acquired a minority stake in Nebraska-based Sustainable Beef LLC in an effort to bring affordable beef for shoppers while boosting viability for the ranching industry.
The investment from the largest U.S. retailer will help Sustainable Beef open its beef processing facility in North Platte in late 2024, according to Walmart.
The move will create more than 800 jobs, essentially "boosting capacity for the beef industry and ensuring long-term economic viability for cattle ranchers," the Arkansas-based Walmart said.
The operator of over 10,500 stores and clubs noted the move also marks the latest step in its commitment to increasing customer access to beef at an affordable price.
"At Walmart, we are dedicated to providing high-quality, affordable beef to our customers, and an investment in Sustainable Beef LLC will give us even more access to these products," Tyler Lehr, senior vice president of merchandising for deli services, meat and seafood for Walmart U.S., said in a statement.
The move comes amid a time when consumers are facing an uptick in everything from household goods, gas and food.
Food prices outpaced the overall consumer price index again last month, rising 10.9% in July compared to a year ago. However, ground beef, in particular, rose 9.7% compared to a year ago.
On top of inflation, farmers have also been facing severe drought, which has been partly to blame for the price increases, according to some reports.
Farmer Mike Baker told News Nation that severe drought forced hundreds of farmers to liquidate their herds as well as send their cattle into feedlots earlier than normal.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), cattle inventory across the United states dropped 2% in July from a year earlier.