Potential U.S. meat shortage has shoppers looking elsewhere

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MAPLEWOOD, MO – Nearly every industry has been impacted by the coronavirus and the meat industry could be next.

While you may not be able to tell where a piece of meat came from just by looking. There are two very different supply chains out there, the industrial side and smaller-scale local producers.

Beef industry leaders warn that with some major suppliers temporarily halting production because some of the workers have COVID-19, the U.S. meat industry could run out of meat in a matter of days.

But local farmers and butchers are seeing some benefits as shoppers turn to them for several reasons.

“The supply chain is diminishing and people want to support local and when this whole thing started to unfold people were panic buying and so they were buying larger quantities of meat,” said Chris Bolyard, owner of Bolyard’s Meat and Provisions.

“We’ve been producing like we always have and in fact, we’re going to increase our production because the demand has been so substantial higher here lately,” said David Price, owner of Price Family Farms.

As local suppliers try to adjust to the change in supply and demand, President Trump is trying to prevent a meat shortage during the pandemic. On Tuesday he signed an executive order classifying meat processing as a critical industry so production plants can stay open.

Farmers and butcher say while they’re seeing a higher demand now, they also generally see an increase from customers whenever there’s a major meat recall.

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