Meat in the pandemic: Dickinson Cattle Company weighs in

Coronavirus

BARNESVILLE, Ohio (WTRF) – Meat product supply has been impacted by COVID-19, and one local ranch specializing in Texas Longhorn Cattle has seen their own shelves emptied. Dickinson Cattle Company in Barnesville continues to supply their locally-sourced beef to the community and 7News spoke to the owner about how they’ve been forced to scale back.

As fear over the Coronavirus spread, a vicious cycle has taken hold nationwide on supply and demand, and the willingness to buy local seems to be higher. We’ve seen barren grocery stores, hoarding, purchase limits, shortages, and ultimately supply not meeting demand.

Darol Dickinson, Owner of Dickinson Cattle Co., discussed the impacts on the localized industry and said “half of your people are showing up to work and then you lose those people and they take other jobs, when you damage and scar an industry it doesn’t just heal right up overnight.”

Dickinson does have the cattle, but can’t get them into the processing plants. He added “you have to put those people like 6 or 8 feet apart because social distancing and they’re shutting down the plants every couple of hours, they’re taking peoples’ temperatures, they are videoing it, they’re all afraid somebody’s going to sue the plant, let’s say if somebody got Corona and he ate some meat out of a certain plant then as a result of that they would sue that plant for more money than they’re making in a month maybe they’d be suing for millions so they’re all scared of being sued, they’re scared of the government, and so the easiest thing for these companies, big companies to do is shut down.”

Many are coming in to buy often in large quantities, and Dickinson said “people get almost bitter that you don’t just sell everything in the store to them and you can only take this much, we don’t like to make clients mad but we like to spread it out so it goes to a lot of homes.”

Right now, meat may not be as easy to get. And all-natural, locally-sourced products are more costly to produce, and he’s worried ranches like his may disappear in the future with cheaper options. He explained “if you buy stuff that’s imported from other countries, which you don’t always know if it’s imported, it doesn’t have the sanitary inspections and the health requirements that we have to go through in the United States to have a really healthy product.”

Dickinson Cattle Company sells other products in addition to beef. They maintain health and safety and say they are transparent at every turn.

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