It's been a tough day in the cattle business. Actually, it's been a tough month. But today's announcement that JBS-owned beef packing plant in Greeley, Colo. will be closing for a two-week period due to COVID-19 outbreak makes today particularly grim. The plant will remain shuttered until April 24, according to the JBS press release.
Colin Woodall, NCBA CEO, released the following statement regarding today's announcement from JBS:
“NCBA is concerned about the closure of the JBS-owned beef packing plant in Greeley, Colo. The company reports the plant is closing for a two-week period after several employees fell ill. Beef producers mourn the loss of the two employees who died as a result of the virus and we empathize with plant workers who are being affected by the outbreak. We also support President Trump’s ongoing effort to keep America’s food supply chain operational.
“The closure of packing plants during this crisis will have an impact on cattle and beef prices. Plant closures or slow-downs have significant regional and national implications that will ripple through the marketplace at a time when cattle producers are already suffering from market uncertainty and economic hardship. Every member of the beef supply chain relies on processing plants operating daily to keep product moving. America’s cattlemen and cattlewomen are hopeful that any beef processing plants which have been slowed or closed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak return to full operation as quickly as possible.
MORE ON THE IMPACT: Economists hypothesize plant closure impacts
“Currently, there is no shortage of beef and consumers can continue to be confident about the safety and wholesomeness of the products they are purchasing during this crisis. There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices when handling or preparing foods.”
More information about USDA’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is keeping the food supply chain intact is available on USDA’s website here. Information about food safety and proper handling practices for food products is available on the CDC website.
BEEF has been working hard to provide readers with the latest COVID-19 coverage. See some our most-read content below:
- Processing plants taking steps against virus spread: Social distancing, limiting those who enter facility seen as key.
- Wash first, then sanitize to prevent COVID-19: Farms not immune to COVID-19 infection.
- COVID-19: As plants close; where’s the meat?: The broken link in the supply chain has many worrying about meat shortage
- Examining COVID-19’s effect on cattle markets: The beef industry may see cattle prices increase in late 2020 as the economy recovers.