Oklahoma State University researchers look at meat plants post-pandemic
When consumers noticed a reduction in meat products in grocery stores at the beginning of the pandemic, some took matters into their own hands, working with producers directly to arrange for meat processing.
An ongoing decline in small meat plants had already led to processing wait times of about nine months pre-COVID-19. In slaughterhouses across Oklahoma, many customers are being told now they’ll get their livestock processed in more than a year, said Rodney Holcomb, agribusiness economist for Oklahoma State University's Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center.
In a recently released study, Holcomb and Courtney Bir — assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Oklahoma State University Extension specialist — took a closer look at how COVID-19 forced meat processing plant shutdowns, increasing concerns in the current processing system. They evaluated the financial support and potential for an increase in small-scale processing.