Colorado ranchers deal with coronavirus-linked shortages, problems in meat supply chain |

Colorado ranchers deal with coronavirus-linked shortages, problems in meat supply chain

Judith Kohler, Denver Post

Rancher Janie VanWinkle has a gnawing feeling that when she’s ready to sign a deal this summer to sell her calves, she could see the price she gets drop by as much as 50%. Lee Leachman is looking at discounting the bulls he sells for breeding by about 20%.

Denver chef Bo Porytko, who runs Misfit Snackbar in Denver, went looking for beef at the Restaurant Depot last week and found mostly empty shelves at the warehouse.

“It was like people were immediately doing the toilet paper thing,” Porytko said.

From the start of the beef supply chain to the end, COVID-19 has created kinks that, if not straightened out, could lead to limited selection in grocery stores, higher prices for restaurants and consumers and some Colorado ranchers shutting their gates for good.

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The biggest obstacle is in the middle, where the cattle are sent to feedlots for about 150 days and then to slaughter. Big plants in Colorado and across the country that typically process thousands of cattle a day have shut down temporarily or greatly scaled back as the novel coronavirus has swept through the workforce. Thousands of workers nationwide have been stricken and at least 20 have died.

Read more via The Denver Post.

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