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Green Country ranchers, processors experience high demand for meat

Meat supply
Posted at 2:41 PM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 00:12:08-04

COLLINSVILLE, Okla. — Some consumers are choosing to buy their beef from private butchers and processors over large scale grocery stores during the coronavirus pandemic.

This trend is being felt across the United States, especially in Oklahoma.

More than ever, ranchers are selling more cattle and private butchers are processing more meat.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the nation experienced meat shortages from large processing plants, causing many to look to other sources for their meat.

READ MORE: Where's the beef and how much will it cost?

One Collinsville processing business, Rick's Custom Processing, is seeing the effects first-hand.

"It all went crazy about April. It's just when it went nuts," said Owner Rick Hall.

To keep up with the high demands, they've extended their business hours and work six days a week.

"I'm booked solid until may of 2021," Hall said.

The family owned business is just one of only a handful of wholesale meat processors in the region.

Although there's never a dull moment at the shop, he's exhausted.

"We're tired but there's nothing else you can do but keep going," Hall said.

Growing concerns over COVID-19 outbreaks and meat shortages nationwide is prompting more consumers to get their meat from places other than the grocery store.

"There's a lot more people looking for fresh pork or beef than ever," said Scotty Calico, a long-time customer.

Calico is a rancher south of Tulsa. He says he first noticed the trend after more people began seeking out cows and pigs for their own.

"They're wanting to put them in their yard or a small place to put them so they can raise them themselves and take them to butcher," Calico said.

Meanwhile, Hall doesn't see the pandemic as a threat, but rather a challenge to keep up with business.

"This is good for a butcher business," Hall said.

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