Where's the Beef: Direct Meat Sales Soar

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the last few months have seen long lines, price hikes, and meat shortages at grocery stores. That has prompted many people to cut out the supermarket middle man and get their meats and produce directly from family farms and ranches. The direct-to-consumer meat industry has seen a boost in sales since the start of the pandemic, building on a years-long growth trend. In fact, the USDA says direct-to-consumer agriculture sales more than doubled between 2012 and 2017.

One of those who can attest to the growth is Wendy Taggart, who runs Burgundy Pasture Beef in Oklahoma. "If you include January and February, our sales are up 40 percent so far for the year," she tells KTRH. "In March, when the lockdowns started happening, we were inundated...we literally sold out of virtually all of our inventory in weeks."

While beef is the specialty at Burgundy Pasture, they also provide other meats, produce and food products that allow consumers to skip the grocery store rat race. "We've got a local farm that does pasture-raised chicken, and they dress out birds for us every week so we can take fresh chicken to our stores," says Taggart. "And we've got a couple of families raising pasture-raised pork."

The most important element of Burgundy and other direct-to-consumer suppliers is the meat is pasture-raised, grass-fed, and free of antibiotics or hormones. "The integrity of what we're doing is extremely high, and we want to maintain that," says Taggart.

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