Farmers and ranchers, restaurant owners worry after Texas adds more COVID-19 restrictions

A recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Texas has brought an order to reduce restaurant occupancy, leaving farmers and restauranteurs uncertain about the future.

Missy Bonds is a rancher in Saginaw, Texas. She was surprised this year when she noticed an increase in beef demand, 7 percent from last year to this year in April alone. She says that it is because people are eating at home and eating more beef. However, there is still something the industry sorely misses.

“Restaurant business is huge for us. Over 50 percent of our beef market goes to hotels, restaurants, and we have to have that market back in order for our beef market to be sustained,” she said. “We were seeing an increase in restaurant demand. I do not know though how this latest influx of setbacks due to the COVID restrictions have put on our restaurant market.”

James Ricciuti spent over 25 years in the restaurant business before getting out late last year. He says that there are many variables that would determine whether restaurants are going to return to steady business to ranchers, like Bonds.

“Really the business is at the mercy of their local governments that are kind of dictating when they can open, how many people, and so on,” he sad, “as far as the farmers go, they’re really at the mercy of the restaurants, how busy they are. So, it’s a big trickle down.”

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