Closing packing plants means a meat shortage is on the way

A coming meat shortage will affect Texas. It's not a lack of cattle or pork or chickens, but a crimp in the supply chain that's going to raise prices at restaurants and grocery stores.

Texas A&M Professor David Anderson says packing plants are either closed or operating inefficiently.

"We've had some shut down in the U.S.; we have plants all over running slower so they can have their employees spread out a little bit."

Professor Anderson says cattle producers can't sell all of their cattle.

"I think we're going to see higher prices for meat at the grocery store; you may go to a store looking for a particular cut and you won't find it because we're producing some 20 to 30% less meat per week."

Professor Anderson says the pandemic hasn't affected cattle production, but because of the packing plant closures, cattle raisers have nowhere to sell their cattle.

"What you end up with is lower prices to farmers and ranchers yet higher prices in the wholesale meat market and higher prices to consumers; and it's all because of this bottleneck in the packing side of the industry."

We're still benefiting from frozen meat produced for restaurants that's been re-routed to grocers.

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