Beef demand causes shortages of Memorial Day staples

The national beef shortage has also led to record high prices.


The demand for beef is causing a shortage of Memorial Day picnic staples.

Usinger's Famous Sausage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin ran out of beef to make hot dogs.

"We ran out of beef. So we're just getting in a new supply of beef. So it'll take us until next week to get 'em made," a company spokesperson said.

There aren't enough processing plants operating at full capacity, Usinger's said.

It's just one example of a nationwide trend.

"The beef supplies are very, very tight," said Bruce Pritzlaff of Pritzlaff Meats.

He said his sources are good right now.

Pritzlaff is selling more to grocery stores because their national suppliers are out.

"What's happened is as the plants are coming back online, our ability to produce the product has fallen," he said.

The coronavirus pandemic has spread particularly quickly at meatpacking plants.

Some were temporarily been shut down.

They were allowed to reopen with social distancing and new disinfecting measures.

"Instead of processing say 100% of the animals they were doing prior to COVID, they're probably at a 75% rate right now," Pritzlaff said.

The national beef shortage has led to record high prices.

A growing number of shoppers are buying directly from cattle farmers like Rob Schuett in Mukwonago, Wisconsin.

"That business is extremely up from what it used to be. A lot of people wanting to try this for the first time, buying quarters and halves of beef," he said.

Schuett Farms' cattle supply is booked into November.

Pritzlaff said he expects beef prices to stay high for a while.