“Surf and Turf” usually refers to a meal combination of steak and shrimp. However, there are more land (turf) animals raised on a farm than just cows, and there are more marine animals consumed (surf) than simply shrimp. According to Axios, the COVID-19 crisis is now being linked to food shortages of all animal products that is expected to endure.
America’s food supply chain is in trouble because of coronavirus outbreaks in rural meatpacking plant communities.
Why it matters: For consumers, this means less meat at the grocery store. For many farmers, this means the prospect of financial ruin. For many animals, this means euthanasia instead of slaughter.
The big picture: Plants in more than a dozen states have closed in recent weeks, spanning beef, pork, poultry and fish.
Many more plants are struggling to remain open despite significant outbreaks.
More than 25% of U.S. pork production is now offline because of plant closures, WashPost reports, citing industry analysts.
Tyson Foods described this as a “breaking” of the food supply chain, warning on Sunday that millions of animals will need to be killed without being turned into food.
Between the lines: There’s also an enormous human toll taking place at these plants.
“It is not going to be easy to get workers six feet apart,” William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases, told the N.Y. Times. “If you space people out, you reduce productivity.”
What’s next: House Agriculture Chair Collin Peterson told CNN today that he predicts shortages of pork as soon as next week.
Peterson estimated that 60,000–70,000 pigs a day will need to be euthanized.
If things don’t turn around fast, “we are going to see multigenerational, longstanding [hog] farms not get through this financially,” Minnesota hog farmer Greg Boerboom told the Star Tribune. (source)
I do not believe that the issue is the virus here at all. Rather, the virus is a convenient excuse.
Right now, what seems to be happening is that futures contract owners and the companies they contract to are ordering, albeit silently, or forcing by refusal to buy, the destruction of crops.
I have explained this before, but the dirty secret behind most factory farming is that farmers are forced essentially into a serf-like position while being held at the mercy of major corporations who they supply animals and produce for.
There is no meat shortage in the objective sense. In facet, the closure of restaurants would naturally force an oversupply of meat to the markets, causing a dramatic price drop, which would be great for a nation of impoverished people. This is good for all but futures investors, who would lose a lot of money on declining market prices.
This is not about a virus causing price increases. That is political rhetoric meant to agitate the easily manipulated masses away from the reality, which is the fact that just like Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol driving up the price of grain (corn) in the agricultural markets and then forcing poor people to overpay so he can make a profit, the same group of investors in modern times are the ones who are using legal contracts to force farmers under fear of losing their livelihoods to unnaturally drive up food prices at a time when people are starving.
Perhaps there needs to be just as much hatred leveled towards Wall Street as there is being directed at China right now.