SEYMOUR, Tenn. (WATE) — Recovery from COVID-19 has been a long process for many people and businesses.
Cattle farmers are amongst those trying to get back on their feet. Jonathan Smelcer is the owner of Smelcer farms, but business has been stagnant since the pandemic started.
“Four or five good weeks into the pandemic I had to turn people away and offer apologies that I couldn’t help them,” Smelcer said.
It wasn’t always that way. When the pandemic first started, business actually picked up for cattle farmers. The meat shortage had farmers markets and smaller grocery stores calling on local farmers for meat. Smelcer says the influx of calls and orders were exciting, but they quickly became worrisome. They quickly ran out of supply.
“Unfortunately as the pandemic grew and the meat scarcity in the stores got more severe. I just had to tell people, I just can’t help you, I wish I could, but I just couldn’t because of the availability of product I had,” Smelcer said.
Smelcer couldn’t keep up with the demand for his products because he wasn’t able to harvest his cattle.
“In order to get a cow harvested, it’s just like us going to the doctor, we have to make an appointment for that. And as everything kind of started to roll, everybody called up processors and booked them up solid for months and months and months,” Smelcer said.
Because of this, the farm not only lost money, but he had to sell or relocate some of his cows.
Smelcer says he believes if there were more local processing factories, there wouldn’t be such a back up with cattle harvesting.
Unfortunately, there is no clear solution to this problem. All Jonathan can do is wait for more processing availability, and wait for the pandemic to end.