Meat Processing Issues Continue
Ranchers are keeping an eye on what's happening with meat processing plants, some of which have recently closed - and are now reopening after President Trump’s order to keep meat processing plants open.
Some stores - such as Costco - are already limiting the amount of meat products customers can get when they shop.
Dr. Derrell Peel is a livestock economist and says what we’re experiencing now is different than the panic buying we saw early on in the pandemic when people started stocking up.
“This time I think we’re actually going to see some disruptions in the flow of product to the grocery stores. We had shortages in grocery stores really much of the last month or so. The early stages of that were really just logistical bottlenecks. Now, we actually have an deficit of product. So, for example on the beef side, in the last three weeks we’ve produced about 300 million pounds less beef than a year ago.”
Dr Peel says there is hope things will improve, but it will take a while.
“I think its possible, optimistically, that we in the next week or two see the worst of the health impacts on the labor force at these plants, and then begin to work our way out of it, it takes a couple weeks probably after that. It still takes some time to get caught up. Again, on the beef side, we’re sufficiently backlogged. If we stay at significantly reduced capacities for another couple weeks, we’re talking several months to catch back up.”
The goal for producers has changed from making a profit to surviving.