Farmer Focus: Pandemic has driven up local meat demand

We are still feeling the bizarre effects of the coronavirus and how it has affected livestock markets. 

Meat shortages, price gouging by foreign-owned packers, sick workers, etc have all made national headlines. 

For better or worse it has also sparked a movement of people who have taken a sudden interest in where their food is produced and who is making it. 

See also: Business Clinic: What to do if staff ignore Covid-19 advice

A Facebook page called Shop Kansas Farms was made and quickly got over 100,000 members. We have people cold-calling our ranch looking to buy a quarter, a half, or even an entire animal. 

This could potentially keep money locally spent, open up new markets, and lead to having a better-informed customer. These are all wonderful things, but there is another hiccup.

Once again, the consumer has changed faster than the supply chain can adjust.

There are many small, local abattoirs throughout rural America. Most have honestly made their living processing animals for farmers and ranchers.

This sudden rush has overwhelmed capacity. Our own abattoir called us a few weeks ago to get us booked in their next available opening – in late November.

I have heard that there is not an opening in Kansas in 2020 now to have an animal custom butchered. 

Whether this new market will wait on us to build infrastructure or will return to their old buying habits is a question many people are asking themselves. Marketing plans need to be made. 

I hope it is a glimmer of a return of self-reliance.

Our social safety (welfare state) is much less than the UK’s. But it’s amazing how soft and robotic our population has become through Covid-19.

There are things in our own spheres of influence, like what we can eat, that we can control. Empty grocery store shelves – even for a brief moment – shook people out of their trance. 

On a related note, I have taken a renewed interest in mental strength during the outbreak. If you are a podcast listener, please listen to Jocko Welnick’s interview of Jonny Kim. 

Kim is a self-described “average” guy who overcame incredible hardships as a child to become a US Navy Seal, a Harvard-educated medical doctor, and now an astronaut for Nasa. We need role models right now.

Daniel Mushrush is a Farmer Focus writer from Kansas. Read his biography.