ST. LOUIS (KTVI)– The meat industry says it’s seeing something that’s never happened before.
A shortage that’s hitting producers and consumers simultaneously.
“What COVID has proved is that there’s a black swan event out there,” said Matt Hardecke, owner of Clover Meadows Beef.
A major shakeup in the meat industry is causing shortages throughout the country and some stores are setting purchasing limits.
“With our packing plants down to 65% capacity that means 35% percent of the pipeline of animals have no place to go and so those animals can’t get processed.”
He says that’s driving record-high prices for shoppers, but tanking the price of cattle since there are so many on the market ready for slaughter.
“There’s never been a time in my memory or my father’s memory where we couldn’t sell an animal. It’s absolutely remarkable what has happened.”
Local meat producers can only process 10 to 20 animals a day while large scale meat plants process about 3,000 to 4,000.
Plants are trying to make their workplaces safer but in the meantime, there’s a lot of volatility going on behind the meat counter.