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Cattle farmers say while shelves are empty, fields are full

While shoppers search for meat in major box stores, cattle farmers are trying to catch their...
While shoppers search for meat in major box stores, cattle farmers are trying to catch their attention.(WKYT)
Published: May. 5, 2020 at 10:29 PM EDT
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While shoppers search for meat in major box stores, cattle farmers are trying to catch their attention.

Mike Stokley is the owner of Big Creek Land & Livestock in Bourbon County. In recent months he has cut out the middle man when it comes to sending cattle to be processed and packaged. He says the decision has paid off. Many now search for meat and deal with purchase limits in stores, meanwhile he is seeing more customers than ever looking for a new beef dealer.

"This isn't a new problem," said Stokley. "It's just been highlighted by COVID-19 and we are getting calls every day from people we don't' know in Lexington or surrounding counties and we've done pretty good business wise."

Stores began limiting how many packages of meat shoppers could buy after major companies in the meat world temporarily shutdown.

Meanwhile Stokley has been continuing to sell meat -- in some cases families going in together and buying whole beef. He questions a meat shortage when farmers just like him are seeing an incline in business that current box stores can't support.

"There's no meat shortage," said Stokley. "There's a supply management issue. When four companies control 80% of the protein and they have bottle necked with this going on and it's created a need. It's a shortage on one end and excess on the other end."

Stokley encourages anyone looking for meat to look up a local cattle farmer and give them your business. He believes the momentum will only continue after the pandemic as many discover a difference in meat quality.