Skip to Content

Mid-Missouri meat industry sources say local supply is stable


COVID-19 threatened to disrupt the meat supply across the country as many meat companies closed, but many sources have said Wednesday that the current meat supply remains plentiful.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order under the Defense Production Act to compel meat processing plants to remain open amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Hy-Vee spokeswoman Christina Gayman said Hy-Vee has meat available at all of its stores.

"We are continuing to work with suppliers to obtain additional products so we are prepared for any possible fluctuations and supply and can best serve our customers," Gayman said.

Gayman said Hy-Vee's meat supply is stable as long as customers maintain their regular buying patterns.

Meat, beef and pork production reached record highs in March, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But earlier this month, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union said at least 13 processing plants have closed over the past two months, resulting in a 25% reduction in pork slaughter capacity and 10% reduction in beef slaughter capacity.

Major meat processors such as Smithfield, Tyson and others say they’ve put measures in place such temperature checks and plexiglass to encourage social distancing in some areas and to help keep their workers safe. But some workers say their employers aren’t doing enough to protect them.

Walmart told ABC 17 News that meat continues to be in high demand as customers stock up on protein.

Walmart said it is working through its supply chain to continually replenish items as quickly as possible to help meet the needs of its customers.

Dave Overfelt, a Missouri Grocers Association lobbyist, said there is not a shortage of meat and that people shouldn't worry and stick to shopping as they normally would.  

“The meat supply is stable," Overfelt said. "And a lot of people had built up their freezers. I would tell people I would work through my freezer before I keep buying products that are out there."

Patchwork Family Farms, a local meat supplier in Columbia, said it has seen a spike in demand for its product during COVID-19.

Tim Gibbons, spokesman for Patchwork Family Farms, said the farm is still taking hogs into small meat lockers and that local meat lockers are busy.

"They are seeing an uptick in people," Gibbons said. "Not only concerned about the meat supply but also filling their own freezers with food for the near term and the more long term.”

Overfelt said there's plenty of meat and plenty of products still readily available, especially locally.

“Stores are not having problems finding a product in a state like Missouri, where we have a number of regional processors out there," Overfelt said.

Patchwork is preparing for another spike in demand when Boone County restaurants are able to reopen dine-in services. That could take place as early as Monday.

Gibbons said Patchwork is in close contact with many local restaurants in Columbia and Boone County in advance of a reopening.

"I think a lot of local restaurants are in the same boat as we are," Gibbons said. "And the same boat as the general population and seeing how this is gonna roll out what's gonna happen, and be able to react.” 

Overfelt doesn't believe there will be a major disruption in the meat supply as the overall supply remains very good.  

"The meat is out there," Overfelt said. "If they had to reroute from another part of the nation. It could be done, but I don't even see that that's really going to happen."

Right now Patchwork is providing curbside services for its customers.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Amber Tabeling

Amber joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in December 2019. She was a student-athlete at Parkland College and Missouri Valley College. She hails from a small town in Illinois.


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content