Meat Processors Getting Beefed Up Business During Pandemic

Wednesday, July 15th 2020, 5:48 pm

EDMOND, Okla. -

When the big meat processing plants temporarily shut down due to COVID-19, it resulted in bare-boned grocery store supplies and rising meat prices.

In turn, that has turned into a cash cow for local meat processors like Country Home Meats in Edmond.

They've faced a large demand as more and more consumers have started buying from local ranches and farms.

"Whenever the larger plants started closing down, retail got pretty busy," said Jessee Davis, CHM Plant Manager.

Some meat processors have had to beef up their ranks to accommodate the demand, Country Home Meats has kept their output the same, the difference is the waiting list for their services.

"Generally, we stay between 6-8 months booked out. But right now, we're booked solid until 2022, so quite a ways," said Davis.

"It's a frustrating day to come in and just have to tell people you can't get them worked in, you can't do this," said CHM owner Robert Noll.

And the demand doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon. Data released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show the sky-rocketing consumer meat prices, are up over 12% from a year ago.

Davis said the situation has exposed a long-time problem, there aren't enough medium-sized local meat processors.

"It's opened everyone's eyes to the idea that we need more processing plants."

The hope moving forward out of this pandemic is that people will see the need for meat processing companies, and that will inspire more people to get into the business.