Meat industry adjusting to COVID-19 to ensure continuous meat supply
On Saturday, executives from Michigan's animal agriculture industry released a joint statement on the status of the Michigan meat industry. They say Michigan is working quickly to help ensure grocery stores are able continue to offer ample supplies of pork and beef.
“Michigan’s animal agriculture industries, like every business and every industry around the country, are making adjustments to their businesses to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“While this could lead to some near-term speedbumps, everyone should recognize these changes will deliver long-term supply chain strength and, most importantly, improved safety for workers throughout the agricultural industries.”
According to officials, meat production has fluctuated in recent weeks as new safety measures have been implemented for employees.
“Worker safety is job one,” said George Quackenbush, executive director of the Michigan Beef Industry Commission. “A safe and healthy workforce is the key to bringing us back to full production. And we know it’s important that we get this right, so we don’t have to do it twice.”
Mary Kelpinski, chief executive officer of the Michigan Pork Producers Association, urged shoppers to resist panic buying of meat products in the weeks ahead.
“We have determined that with production facilities continuing to function and plenty of meat in cold storage around the state, consumers should expect to continue to see meat products in grocery stores,” she said. “The only way we could encounter a problem is if consumers start panic-buying. We want everyone to know that production in Michigan remains strong. Don’t buy more than you need.”
The two industries issued a formal statement to consumers, which is below.