Local meat markets face impacts of pandemic

Posted at 10:09 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 23:36:54-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - — Several big box grocery stores have announced limits on the amount of meat customers can purchase due to potential shortages.

Local meat markets are having to make similar adjustments.

"We're second-generation owners so we've been 20 years owning the business and never in the history have we seen anything like this," Patty Hanke said.

Patty Hanke, who owns B.I.G Meats in Millard says they're feeling trickle down effects of the pandemic.

"It's literally exhausting because we are small (you know there's only a handful of us that work here), and we're just absorbing the workload," she said. "So just to sum it up it is exhausting."

Their store has seen a surge in customers, old and new stocking up on meat.

Ground beef purchases are limited to 10 pounds a customer.

" [It's] enough to get you by and you know last a week or two and hopefully you know if we kind of level things out that way they'll be enough for everybody and you can come back in two weeks and buy another 10 pounds," Hanke said.

They're impacted by closures and staffing changes at meat processing plants as they deal with outbreaks.

"You know when we talk about our beef community it's really everybody, from the rancher all the way through the supply chain until it gets to the consumer," Nebraska Beef Council Executive Director Ann Marie Bosshamer said. "We're working as diligently as possible to get back to full capacity and things and business as usual."

"The biggest thing is the way the prices are being affected," Hanke said. "You know it's almost a daily, every time we get a truck in we got to adjust our prices that's how volatile they are right now."

Hanke tells 3 News Now a pound of ground beef was $4.69 at her store, now it's up to $5.99.

She tells us they're mainly short on chicken and pork right now.

"We are working together as best we can to make sure that the product continues to flow, and get to the grocery stores," Bosshamer said.

Hy-Vee announced that starting Wednesday, you'll only be able to pick up four items of beef, port or chicken products.

Governor Pete Ricketts urged people not to panic buy meat, saying there may be a smaller selection but there is enough for everyone.