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IPFS News Link • Food Shortages

US Beef Output Slides As Blizzard Disrupts Midwest Meat Plants

•, by Tyler Durden

Adverse weather conditions also closed major meatpacking plants.

Bloomberg reports two major beef packers idled operations in Kansas this week as blizzard conditions left workers unable to traverse roadways. 

Cargill Inc.'s Dodge City, Kansas plant suffered a power outage, and 50 workers were stranded on a nearby highway due to road closures. 

"We realize that some employees got stuck on the road outside the plant. We are working with local authorities and have hired tow truck drivers to assist them and other motorists," Cargill said in a statement.

Tyson Foods meatpacking plant in Holcomb, Kansas, canceled shifts on Tuesday, the company said in a statement. On Monday, employees were given hot meals and shelter because roadways were too dangerous for travel. 

Fierce winter weather likely impacted the number of cattle slaughtered in the US on Tuesday, coming in at 94,000, compared with figures one year ago of 128,000, according to US Department of Agriculture data. This is also the lowest slaughter number of the new year. 

"When meat plants close, protein prices can start surging if supplies run thin. Meanwhile, farmers may face lower prices for their livestock with demand for the animals disrupted," Bloomberg noted. 

This week's disruption at some major beef plants in Heartland appears to be short-lived. However, a massive shortage of the nation's cattle herd has driven retail beef prices to record highs

The beef industry is facing persistent challenges. It may be time for automated plants.