The livestock industry continues struggling with many unknowns as packing plants try to reopen nationwide. Some of the biggest questions haunting the industry: will scared plant workers come back? Will there be enough personal protective equipment? Will liability protections discourage lawsuits? How much will meat production suffer?
“There is no beef shortage…we have plenty of cattle.” National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President Ethan Lane said. “We have packing plants that are up and running. We are obviously doing the things that need to be done to try to manage through outbreaks, and deal with those worker issues, the same as everybody else. But there are no shortages of beef.”
Lane said stored product and that redirected from restaurants should help, but he admits, the consumer is unpredictable.
“We’ve seen this crazy run on toilette paper…we’ve seen people clean out supplies…and we see this guidance coming from all different sectors of the economy, ensuring that people buy what they need, but don’t buy three-months-worth of it—there’ll be more, next week, too.”
An even bigger unknown, Lane noted, may be the fate of the next coronavirus aid package.
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