Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is promising to pour $500 million into expanding meat processing capacity, which farm groups say will be a great start toward increasing competition in the sector and boosting livestock prices.
A survey of more than 3,000 American consumers shows beef is currently chosen about three times more often than plant-based alternatives. But while the plant-based presence in the market remains small, it is growing.
Since COVID-19 disrupted the meat supply chain in the spring, there has been a growing consensus between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill that the meat processing industry needs more competition, but that comes with a few barriers.
Shutting down, slowing processing line speeds, and reducing work hours is becoming a reality for livestock processors as more workers contract COVID-19, and ag economists argue timing of closures in the coming weeks is everything.