Coronavirus having impact on Alabama’s beef farmers


BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association are following the coronavirus outbreak closely and how this will impact the state’s beef farmers.

Erin Beasley, executive vice president of Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, said there isn’t a shortage of beef, but the challenge is drastically increasing demand for beef in retail stores. She said that normally, beef sales go to food services and retail, but restaurants, casinos, and cruise lines aren’t buying beef, so the majority is going to local grocery stores.

“Demand was spread between food service and retail the last 10 years or so, but what we’re seeing is a major shift to retail,” Beasley said. “To give you some perspective, the week of March 15 we saw a 77% increase in retail beef sales. That is tremendous.”

Beasley said their big concern is keeping the beef supply chain flowing and making sure shelves continue to be restocked with beef.

She said farmers are concerned about what this will do the business in the next month or so.

“There is frustration, there is fear, there is anxiety but in agriculture, we deal with a lot of things that we can’t control,” she said. “We’re constantly dealing with weather, dealing with input prices we don’t have control over so we’re, like a lot of Americans, dealing with uncertainty that they’re not used to being in control. I feel like in agriculture that’s something we deal with year in and year out.”

Beasley said the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association wants farmers to know they are here to support them on the federal level and are fighting to get them as much support as possible.


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