You might still be seeing low quantities or limits at the grocery store, especially in the meat section, “But that does not mean that we don’t have enough food in this country to feed the American people,” says Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
Perdue continued saying, “The way food is prepared and packaged to be sold in a restaurant or a school is significantly different than the way it’s packaged for you to buy in the grocery store. Our supply chain is sophisticated, efficient, integrated, and synchronized, and it’s taken us a few days to relocate the misalignment between institutional settings and grocery settings.”
Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron says he’s been asked if crops will still go in the ground this planting season. He too wants to reassure consumers that it will happen because farmers are a resilient group.
“We’re fortunate to live in a great country that we have a lot of availability of food and we’ve taken that for granted for a lot of years. Maybe this will make us pause and realize how fortunate we are.”
As for availability of beef, the head of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the nation’s beef supply is okay for now, but prolonged packing plant shutdowns or slowdowns could force shortages.
“If this is a prolonged situation, within 3 weeks, a month or so, we could start seeing it harder to get the beef into the retail chain,” said NCBA CEO Colin Woodall. “Now, keep in mind, we don’t have a shortage of cattle. So, we’ve got plenty of cattle to be turned into beef, it’s just a matter of finding the space in these plants to get it done in a timely manner.”
Woodall encourages consumers not to “panic buy” as that will only make matters worse.
Sources: National Association of Farm Broadcasting and USDA Radio