The question now is how quickly the supply from the beef processors will stabilize to bring overall beef prices down and live cattle prices up. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced this week that he expected all the processing plants to be reopened soon. “I’d say probably a week to ten days we’ll be back up, fully back up,” Perdue said in a meeting with Trump and Iowa governor Kim Reynolds, but that may be overly optimistic. Even if the plants have reopened, they won’t likely be at full capacity. As David Anderson from Texas A&M says, “It doesn’t mean anybody’s going to show up,” referring to the workers. In an anonymous essay, an employee who says she works at a Tyson beef plant in Amarillo wrote: “I don’t feel critical. I don’t feel essential. I feel sacrificial.” Even if the workers are willing to return to the reopened plants, USDA inspectors are required for any plant to operate, and more than one hundred members of the already short-staffed inspector workforce have been infected.
Texans are getting anxious about their BBQ.
Meanwhile in Oklahoma…