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CoBank: Closed meat plants today mean empty meat cases this summer

A new report from CoBank says the reduction in meat processing capacity will mean less meat in grocery stores in the weeks ahead.

The report says meat supplies for retail grocery stores could shrink nearly 30 percent by Memorial Day, leading to retail pork and beef price as much as 20 percent higher than last spring.

CoBank’s Will Sawyer says on the production side, pork producers are facing the biggest challenges.

“We are estimating there might be six to seven million pigs euthanized just in the second quarter as a result of these plant shutdowns,” Sawyer says. “By our math, that could be 700 to 750 million dollars of lost market value.”

And Sawyer says shrinkage in the U.S. livestock herd will likely make the food supply shortage more acute later in the year.

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