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State helping Utah farmers as meat market shuts down across the nation

Posted at 10:31 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 00:31:02-04

In the midst of national markets shutting down for meat processing, the state has passed an emergency order with hopes to increase processing speeds in Utah by 10 percent.

A lot of meatpacking companies are doing really well right now because they sell meat locally, but one farmer in Nephi says 90% of his meat is exported.

“They were supposed to go 5 weeks ago and then the whole world came tumbling down,” said Wade Garrett, who lives in Nephi.

The Garrett farm has been in the family for seven generations.

If Garrett had sold his cows would have lost ten thousand dollars, the pandemic has caused prices to plummet.

“It was looking bright for agriculture up until this hit and now it’s looking pretty bleak right now,” said Garrett.

Garrett says beef prices have dropped 30%, and lamb prices have dropped as much as 50%.

Hamburger meat sales have increased, but the market for other cuts that go to restaurants and cruise ships has stopped.

”You’re food is safe. There is some hiccups they’re having in supply lines and we’re working through them to make sure you have plenty of food on your table.” Logan Wilde with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Commissioner said.

Commissioner Logan Wilde says meat-packing plants are doing fine across the state right now, but backed up across the nation.

Wilde announced a temporary plan Wednesday that allows slaughterhouses to bi-pass a middle man and go through state inspection—in hopes to speed up the process for meat sold only in Utah.

Something, Garrett said, is a relief.

”This is just going to open up a new opportunity to help agriculture and to help consumers as well,” Garrett said.