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Tariffs affecting local beef prices, causing excess supply

Posted at 10:32 PM, Jul 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-26 17:37:15-04

Billions of pounds of beef, chicken, and pork are piling up in cold storage units nationwide due to long-term overproduction and slow overseas trade as countries like China retaliate against American tariffs. 

In Nebraska, from the farmers to the distributors, to where they store the beef at your home, local stores say the tariffs are already impacting the price of local beef. 

"It's great for consumers but hurting small farmers," said Sean Fuller, owner of Just Good Meat

Fuller says beef prices are already decreasing rather quickly and have already dropped 10 to 15 percent. 

RELATED: Tariffs affecting farmers in Nebraska, Iowa

"Something unusual but a lot of small farmers are calling me to see if we need a new source of beef and just telling me about the predicament they're in," Fuller said. 

Fuller has received several calls from local farmers trying to sell him meat they weren't able to export.

"A guy that I talked to earlier today said that he had to sell 250 head of cattle he was getting ready to have processed to go to Marid to be exported; that he had to hurry up and sell it because the export business basically stopped," Fuller said.

Farmers are now trying to freeze their excess unsold product.

"When you've got thousands and thousands of pounds (of meat) that a month ago had a home, and now it doesn't — so I think they're kind of forced to find the refrigeration places that can freeze it until they can do something with it," Fuller said.

Canonnball Express, a refrigerated specialist shipping company in town ships between 2 million and 2.5 million pounds of meat each week. Co-owner James Meyers said some of their customers are needing space to store frozen meats.

"Some of them have had to add to their own capacity, some of them aren't storing products as long, some of them are discounting their products faster," he said.