Over the weekend, the pork processing plant in Guymon, OK became a huge concern to Oklahoma public health, the USDA, and consumers everywhere.
It's a scenario which is duplicated all over the nation, where meat processing plants are exploding with Covid-19. In Worthington, Minnesota, nearly 5% of the entire county is confirmed stricken with the virus, and it's clearly centered around a local facility where the world's largest meat processing corporation utilizes a large foreign immigrant workforce to butcher hogs and create meat products for most of the nation's grocery stores.
The highest concentration of Minnesota's entire positive Covid-19 cases are now in one little rural county (Nobles), in the SW corner of the state. Until this outbreak, Minnesota had been the least saturated state in the union for Covid positive tests.
In response, Oklahoma ranchers are largely offering to sell directly to consumers. Muskogee Politico writes that the Oklahoma Cattlemen's association is now compiling a database for consumers to contact ranchers in their area and arrange for direct transactions.
Oklahoma Cattlemen Respond..
Last week, local ranchers across the state launched an initiative to circumvent the massive meatpacking plants and sell directly to consumers, while utilizing local butcher shops.
Here's their press statement.
Selling Beef Direct to the Consumer . . .is not a new idea, but it has definitely gained popularity during the recent disruption in the meat supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’ve compiled a list of our members who are selling beef direct in an effort to connect consumers with beef cattle ranchers. We hope this list will be a win for consumers and producers. Beef producers take pride in the delicious, nutritious protein that they produce. The opportunity to market direct connects beef cattle ranchers and consumers on a more intimate level.
This list includes members of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association that raise cattle and sell beef direct to consumers. We encourage consumers to reach out to the member of your choice.
** PLEASE NOTE: This list will be updated frequently. If you are a producer and would like to be included, please click here to email us.**
Click HERE to view the list of OCA Members Selling Beef Direct (Updated May 2)
FAQ: What do I need to know about buying beef from a rancher? CLICK HERE to read more.Great beef recipes, best ways to cook eat cut, nutrition fact and more about beef can be found at beefitswhatsfordinner.com.
No one's working in Worthington, except to kill and destroy hogs which the facility cannot process until health dept and USDA inspectors give the plant a thorough inspection.
But an even bigger concern is about the rural healthcare infrastructure. Where little farming communities barely keep inpatient facilities open, the access to care for a pandemic can quickly overrun the capacity, leaving families to scramble for places to go.
What's puzzling to many of Trump's supporters in these communities, is President Trump's direct order that no meat processing plants may close during this pandemic.
This processing step in the chain of bringing food to market, is a serious problem for farmers & ranchers, cattle industry support services, and ag-based communities.
It's also likely to cause meat shortages and price increases for consumers.
On the other hand, household appliance dealers are going to see a spike in freezer sales as people move toward custom butchering of cattle they purchase directly from ranchers.