Texas farms and ranches can see some of the $19 billion in a farm rescue package the White House announced Friday, as sharply declining prices for cattle, calves and sheep begins hitting Texas ranchers hard. $3 billion of the aid package will be invested as a one-time government purchase of dairy, produce and meat products.
Production of beef products from processing plants is down 25% as more and more beef packing plants close. Dr. David Anderson is a professor and extension economist in the Texas A & M Depart of Agricultural Economics. “A meat packer buys live cattle and sells it as meat, and so as we have those plants closing, we have lower prices to producers. Yet, we have higher wholesale prices for some beef items because it constrains the supplies to the grocery stores.”
Two of the nation’s seven largest meat processing facilities are closed.Dr. Anderson said the closing of restaurants across the entire country has turned the business model for the beef business on its head. “Roughly 50% of our food is consumed away from home and 50% at home.The away from home is our restaurants,” he tells KTRH News.The timing was especially troubling for ranchers who produce sheep.More than half of all lamb in the U.S. is bought by restaurants, and the stay at home orders hit right before the biggest lamb market of the year.