A Strong Meat Sector for The Beef State: Examining State Meat Inspection and other State-Level Policies for Supporting Small Meat Processing

Farm and Food
Small Business
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When COVID-19 hit packing plant floors in the spring of 2020, the effects of the outbreak were felt far beyond the four walls of a given facility. 

With workers spending long hours on the line and in close proximity to one another, the environment was perfect for a respiratory virus to find new hosts, and, early in the pandemic, the coronavirus ripped through the meat sector. 

Plants were forced to shut down to slow the spread not only at the facility, but the community at large, and the dominant meat supply chains in the country came grinding to a halt. In late May, Nebraska’s meat processing industry accounted for one quarter of the state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 2,700 people infected and eight deaths.