SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — America could see a meat shortage due to processing plants struggling to stay open amid COVID-19 concerns.
This shortage could cause customers to run into less selection and higher prices.
According to The Associated Press, 13 plants in eight states, including Missouri, are closed at least temporarily because of the pandemic. These closed plants represent about 10% of beef production and 25% of pork production across the United States.
Although there’s no shortage of cattle, the closings leave farmers with nowhere to take their meat to package.
Big box stores are also taking a hit. The minimal product coming in has led to limits on what you can buy and higher prices at check out.
Locally, Aaron Scholl, director of purchasing for Gold Crown Foods in Springfield, says while local stores are still getting product, a shortage would likely only come as more people start looking elsewhere to get their meat.
“People will start to look for other outlets in places that they can get their products,” said Scholl. “So will we run out? I really don’t see a situation that we will run out of quality proteins locally, but will we have the exact cut or the right specification that somebody’s looking for, maybe they might have to find other alternatives and move other directions.”
Though you may notice higher meat prices in the coming weeks, the USDA says it should be minimal.
Beef and Chicken prices are expected to climb 1% to 2% this year, and pork anywhere from 2% to 3%