Cattle farmers are feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
Even if business slows down, work on the farm does not, and farmers across the Shenandoah Valley say they are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Cows still need to be fed even though we're dealing with a crazy, chaotic time in the nation and worldwide, and the farmers just have to continue on," Ashlyn Clemmer, of Dividing Ridge Farms, said.
Beef is in high demand, but meat packers that have monopolized the market are not raising their prices to meet that demand. That is making it even more difficult for farmers to move their product amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"They're all taking the same price for cattle, so farmers either way, even if the demand is as high as it's ever been. like now, it's not showing and fluctuating in the markets," Clemmer said.
Luckily, Dividing Ridge Farms was able to sell their cattle back in January, but Clemmer said farmers who are not able to move their cattle now are struggling.
"Not being able to move their cattle, that means that they are going to have to feed them more than they were, which means their profits are going to continuously go down because more expenses are going to be involved," Clemmer said.
Many stockyards are asking farmers to hold their cattle because so many packing and processing plants are shutting down, either due to positive COVID-19 cases or just as a precaution. Not in regards to beef markets, but in regards to pork markets, that includes Smithfield Foods, which
Clemmer said farmers are just going to have to be patient and wait until times get better.