Selling meat during the COVID-19 pandemic


The Cattle Site†

31 July 2020


When the COVID-19 pandemic started, I, like many of you, was focused on working from home while also homeschooling my daughters. I was busy postponing and rescheduling several NCAT training events and figuring out how to best serve our ATTRA clients, writes Margo Hale, NCAT Southeast Regional Director and NCAT Livestock Specialist.


As the pandemic continued to spread, we saw various impacts in all aspects of our life. Across the country, we saw our traditional supply chains falter, and consumer buying habits changed overnight. Thankfully, our household never ran out of toilet paper, but it was several weeks before I could find rice and beans to buy!


Because we raise our own beef, pork, and eggs, I rarely pay attention to those areas of the grocery store, but it was shocking to see empty shelves. We sell only a few beeves and hogs each year, mainly to friends and coworkers. You can learn more about how we sell our beef and pork from this short video.


While we never have a problem selling what we have available, we also donít usually have an overwhelming demand. As soon as COVID-19 hit, though, people who have never bought meat from us before began reaching out to see if we had any meat available for sale. They wanted to stock their freezers! I heard from farmers all over the country that this was happening to them, too. This demand is great for producers, but it also comes with some challenges.


Meeting Increased Demand for Local Meat


You might be able to gain new customers during this time, as people are wanting to stock their freezers and prepare for supply-chain disruptions. You want to ensure that these new customers continue purchasing from you even after the grocery stores are restocked. In order to do this, you must provide an excellent product and good customer service.


It is tempting to quickly scale up production to take advantage of the demand, but donít do so at the cost of quality. Donít process and sell animals that donít meet your highest quality standards. Providing great customer service is another way to keep customers coming back.


NCAT Specialist Dave Scott and his wife Jenny shared some really great tips on providing excellent customer service to their meat customers in the ďDirect Marketing MeatĒ podcast series.


Episode 128. Direct Marketing Meat with Dave and Jenny Scott. Part 1


Episode 129. Direct Marketing Meat with Dave and Jenny Scott. Part 2: Processing


Episode 136. Direct Marketing Meat with Dave and Jenny Scott. Part 3: Relationships


Episode 137. Direct Marketing Meat with Dave and Jenny Scott. Part 4: FAQs


In the ATTRA video COVID-19 Market Adjustments, you can also hear how COVID-19 has affected Daveís and Jennyís business, Montana Highland Lamb.


Plan for Processing ...


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