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The Impact of COVID-19 in the Grocery Stores’ Meat Fridges

AAEA members release new research in AEPP

When COVID-19 became a national emergency in the United States, many U.S. cosumers not only found certain products (i.e. paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning materials) hard to come by , but they also found beef products changing in price and type on shelves. This became a hot topic in the media but also within the beef industry. New research says that the weekly number fed cattle slaughtered dropped by approximately 246,000 head. The bottom was ≈438,000 which was 35% lower than the same time in 2019. The result of this lowered number of head being slaughtered led to chain reactions for beef consumers and beef producers.

In the new article “Beef Cattle Markets and COVID-19” released in the Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, Charles Martinez from the University of Tennessee, Joshua Maples from Mississippi State University, and Justin Benavidez from Texas A&M University analyze the impact of the pandemic across all sectors of the cattle industry.

Martinez says, “COVID-19 disrupted not only the cattle industry but just about every market. When analyzing the cattle industry, COVID-19 has really showed the importance of having a risk strategy, regardless of size or sector.”

He continues, “Each sector incurred different impacts. The most notable, and most publicized result was the backlog of fed cattle nationally. The backlogresulted in numerous chain reactions in the supply chain.”

If you are interested in setting up an interview, please contact Allison Ware in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Ware
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190