Local meat suppliers advise the public not to hoard meat

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Over the weekend, JBS USA was hit with a ransomware attack similar to the one that hit an oil pipeline just weeks ago.

Because of the attack, the plant shut down for a short time, so, some places in the United States could see a small shortage or a price hike for a short period of time on beef and pork.

If you start to notice a small increase in meats at the grocery store, don’t panic.

The issue has already been resolved but the ripple effect could make a small impact locally for a short time as long as people refrain from panic buying, according to Greg Drake, a Butler County Agricultural Extension Agent.

“There is still beef in the supply chain, lots of beef in the supply chain. This thing has only disrupted this one company for just a few days so the supply is going to be there, but there will be a little ripple. But if people try to go out and buy everything at the grocery store here in Morgantown, then we can certainly see some very small, isolated, short-run supply problems,” said Drake.

In fact, panic buying was the reason for quite a bit of strain on farmers and small meat processers throughout 2020 and as those businesses have begun to recover, the worst thing the public could do is over-purchase again.

JBS has already resumed manufacturing so the hiccup in the supply chain should be manageable and will likely be far less noticeable for local small business, according to the owner of Rian’s Fatted Calf, Rian Barefoot.

“I think it’s just going to be a little hiccup. It’s not really going to be anything major. And the last thing that people really want to do is you don’t really want to go out there and start hoarding meat and stuff because that is going to create a shortage and that is going to create an issue if everybody panics and goes an does that. So, I think everybody just needs to chill and just realize that it’s probably going to impact pricing more than anything because we do have plenty of supply, its just the getting it out there,” said Barefoot.

Locally, the meat shortage that happened during the beginning of the pandemic made an impact and changes are coming.

“We learned our lesson in Kentucky last year. We are expanding the beef processing capacity. Here in south central Kentucky, I would say we have 10 processing facilities that are in the process of being constructed, but it takes a long time,” said Drake.

Panic buying causes an issue for your peers, small farmers, small meat processors and others throughout the supply chain.

Suppliers recommend purchasing just what you plan to eat in the next week or two and leave the rest for your neighbors.