UNR NEWS RELEASE
Continues to seek alternatives to keep service available to users
Last week, University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson sent a message to the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents and others about Wolf Pack Meats, a University operation affected by operating losses and the budget cuts of recent years, to clarify misinformation that has circulated about the facility. The University is evaluating options to provide a continued availability of the service to the community. The following is the message sent last week.
“In light of recent communications you may have received, I’d like to share background about Wolf Pack Meats.
First, there hasn’t been, and there is not now, a proposal to close Wolf Pack Meats.
Second, with significant funding reductions to public higher education in Nevada, it has been necessary to evaluate programs that are financially supported by the University of Nevada, Reno. A primary consideration is how a particular program connects to the University’s core missions of teaching and research. Because the University no longer does teaching or research in meat science, we must re-evaluate the University’s subsidy to Wolf Pack Meats.
Wolf Pack Meats has incurred five years of business-operating losses. Over this period, the University has contributed a state-funded subsidy of more than a half million dollars to support its continued operation. Unlike California and the Midwest, the demand for graduates with meat science degrees is small in Nevada and neither market conditions nor student demand supports curriculum and workforce development in this area.
While the University cannot continue to absorb the financial subsidy to Wolf Pack Meats, we have encouraged faculty, staff and constituents to explore potential, financially viable solutions by which closure can be avoided. We are evaluating alternatives and options to be able to maintain the meat-packing operation for the community and the local food producers without a financial loss to the University. The options include raising prices to avoid any future operating deficits, leasing the operation to an individual or group, such as a producer or consumer cooperative that would operate the facility, or selling the operation to an individual or group that would operate the facility. A decision to close Wolf Pack Meats would be a last resort. It is our desire to continue working with stakeholders to find a viable solution. We are preparing to convene another meeting with current users to explore options to keep the meat-packing plant in operation.
The evaluation of operations of Wolf Pack Meats has become entwined with another project at the 1,049 acre Main Station Farm, the proposed rezoning of the 104-acre McCarran Strip into a Planned Unit Development which will help protect the property’s value for the future. While the meat-packing facility is near the north end of this parcel, it is an otherwise unrelated matter. Protection of the McCarran Strip has been anticipated and this PUD proposal is part of its seven to 20 year planning process.”