Back to 2020, the federal government’s covid-mandated shutdown of meat production plants hobbled the nation’s meat production capabilities, leaving farmers with nowhere to send their beef. This resulted in them having to cull cattle and other livestock. The uncertainty caused farmers to scale back their production at the time, which Arun Sundaram told CNBC “can affect production more than a year, year and a half down the road.”
Processing facilities had labor shortages like all other businesses, which reduced their capacity to process meat at the same clip as before the pandemic. Meanwhile, consumers regained their appetites for beef, forcing prices higher.