Considerable controversy exists regarding the costs and benefits of growth in the meat packing and processing industry for rural counties. This study investigates the effects of this industry on social and economic outcomes in nonmetropolitan counties of 23 Midwestern and Southern states from 1990 to 2000. Results suggest that as the meat packing industry's share of a county's total employment and wage bill rises, total employment growth increases. However, employment growth in other sectors slows, as does local wage growth. Industry growth has little impact on local crime rates or on growth of government spending on education, health, or police protection. Copyright 2007, Oxford University Press.