Transportation Logistics and Economics of the Processed Meat and Related Industries in Southwest Kansas

Kansas is one of the nation’s leaders in meat production. Specifically, in the southwest Kansas region, there are more than three hundred feed yards and four meat processing plants. Traditionally, processed meat, some of the meat byproducts, grain, and other industry-related products are transported using large trucks (tractor-trailers). In addition to the highway system, there are two Class I railroad carriers and four Class III railroad carriers in the southwest Kansas region. Because there is a rich railroad network in the southwest Kansas region, it is necessary to study whether there is a need to utilize other transportation modes, such as railroad and intermodal, to transport goods and products for the processed meat and related industries. The objectives of this research are to study the transportation modes, their utilizations for the processed meat and related industries in southwest Kansas, and their impacts on local economic development. To achieve the objectives, the research team conducted a literature review, collected data through site visits, interviews, and web-sites, estimated vehicle miles of travel (VMT) by truck using TransCAD software, and projected future growth of processed meat and related industries as well as emerging industry development in the region. The research results demonstrate that there is heavy usage of trucks in the southwest Kansas region which need to be diversified to other transportation modes such as railroad and intermodal. To utilize railroad and intermodal transportation for the processed meat and related industries, there is a need to build required infrastructure near or within the feed yards and meat processing plants to support these transportation modes. In addition, to use the railroad for transporting feed grains, the system infrastructure of short line railroads needs to be improved. During this project, the research team also found that two new industries, dairy and ethanol, are emerging in southwest Kansas. With the development of new businesses, the demand on railroad service (both Class I and Class III) has been increasing recently. Thus, it is important to have adequate investment in railroad infrastructure, particularly, to keep short line railroads running rather than being abandoned.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 378p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01536573
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: K-TRAN: KU-06-3
  • Contract Numbers: C1569
  • Created Date: Aug 26 2014 9:40AM