A David City area farmer and caterer are among many experiencing struggles due to the COVID-19 meat shortage.
“We’re doing what we can to keep our prices as low as we can and pass on savings to people with minimal limitations but that’s going to continue to be dictated by how many we continue to get in from the suppliers,” said Scott Buresh, of Buresh Catering & Meats.
Buresh said that while they have three suppliers, and are working on a fourth, the amount of meat they receive and prices of the meat vary greatly day by day.
“We’re trying to keep as much hamburger on hand as we can get,” Buresh said. “We keep getting in two or three loads a week from different suppliers. Sometimes we get in a little bit and sometimes we get in a lot more. We’re moving thousands of pounds of product out here in the form of beef, pork, poultry.”
Buresh noted he has lines two hours long and customers traveling from three to four hours away.
“We didn’t have to ration before but now we’re starting to have to ration hamburger to 20 pounds - which is still a lot of hamburger - but it’s just something we have to do because now we’re having more and more people come because they’re getting rationed even smaller amounts in the stores,” he said.
Buresh said that customers have been understanding about his store's struggle during this time. The phone line has also been ringing off the hook, and they're having trouble finding time to even answer the phone.
"Presently we aren’t taking any custom orders because we physically do not have the time to fill them," he added. "The prices change so much in such a short period of time that before we can even get an order done, the prices might change.”
Buresh said he has extended store hours to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. He asks that customers refrain from coming to the store before it opens as employees need time to prepare stock.
Buresh noted that meat processing facilities have been getting back up and running, though this does not include Cargill as the establishment announced they were idling operations.
“We’re doing what we can to keep our prices as low as we can and pass on savings to people with minimal limitations but that’s going to continue to be dictated by how many we continue to get in from the suppliers,” Buresh said.
On the other end of the spectrum, Hank Klosterman noted that while K-HO Land and Cattle Company hasn’t faced issues from an operational standpoint but he has been unable to move cattle off of the feed lot.
Klosterman is an owner of the business, which is a cattle feeding, ranching and farming operation.
“One thing that’s truly affected us is our end market meaning making sure we get our cattle slaughtered,” he said. “We haven’t been able to move cattle so those cattle are in the yard and we haven’t really been able to get cattle out of the feed yard to get them processed and to the grocery stores.”
This has also been negatively impacting cattle meat efficiency.
“Instead of those cattle gaining well and getting out and getting them out into the food supply, they’re having to hang around longer so they eat more feed and they just don’t gain as well," Klosterman said.
"Our employees have been extremely healthy and willing to take the precautions. From that standpoint, we’ve had employees show up on time to do the work needed so from the operational standpoint it has affected us that it has been getting the actual cattle feeding and farming done.”
Hannah Schrodt is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach her via email at email@example.com.
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