Deputy Ag Secretary Steve Censky on meat processing capacity


U.S. meat production was hit hard by COVID-19 for a while as processing plants became hot spots for the spread of the novel coronavirus, but processing is almost back to 100%, says Deputy Agriculture Secretary Steve Censky.

“There was a time when the meat processors were being hit by the illnesses among workers ... We were down close to 50% of capacity and that was having a big impact, not only on the availability of meat for consumers, but also having a negative impact on producers because they had the animals with no place to go.”

But now, Censky said, U.S. beef and poultry processors are running at about 98% of capacity and pork processors are running at about 95% of capacity.

“We are largely back and I think you’re seeing the results of that in the (supermarket) meat cases now,” he said.