HARTFORD, Conn. – New England officials recently commissioned a study to look at ways to expand beef production there as part of a strategy to make the region more self-sufficient by growing more of its own food, according to The Associated Press. Ranchers say one challenge is the region has few slaughterhouses. As a result, cattle must be shipped outside the area for slaughter and the meat is brought back to New England to be sold.

All six New England states — Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut — combined have only 28 slaughterhouses compared to Wisconsin which has approximately 285 slaughterhouses, according to a spokeswoman for the Vermont Agency for Agriculture.

New England isn’t the only area in the US interested in boosting beef production. The University of Georgia is studying the market in the Southeast, and Maryland organizations are testing ways to increase the use of beef and other local meats in health care facilities there, as well.