Valley farmers discuss how backed-up meat processing plants are affecting business

Local News

For one farmer, his business has increased as customers are now asking for meat by the bulk

(WYTV) – You may have noticed the meat shortage at some grocery stores or maybe limits on certain meat products. Farmers in the Valley say this is the best time to support your local meat farms so you don’t have to worry about those restrictions.

“Processing plants that are shut down right now, which is causing the major food crunch in the stores. But if you reach out to your local farmers, then they will have options available to you,” said farmer Curtis Gemmel, with Grass N Grace Farm in Berlin Center.

Gemmel said that ever since the COVID-19 outbreak, his business has increased as customers are now asking for meat by the bulk.

“I would sell more cuts now. I’m getting a lot more in demand for, you know, half beef, quarter beef, that kind of stuff,” he said.

Ken Struthers of Struthers Farms in Mercer, Pennsylvania said he’s on the waiting list until July to get beef into the packaging plant.

“So we’re going to hang for another 10 days to two weeks. So you’re like at the end of August until we can get anybody any beef,” he said.

Struthers said the cattle business is a lengthy process. It starts with feeding the cows until they are about 14 to 18 months old. Then, they are sent out to the slaughterhouse.

“Once they head to the slaughterhouse, they usually leave them hang for about 10 day minimum. So anything that goes to the slaughterhouse now, you know, it’s hanging there for 10 days just to age it,” Struthers said.

Struthers and Gemmel said the problem is not the shortage of meat, because they have plenty of cows. It’s the processing plants that are backed up, which makes the process a lot slower.

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