The spread of COVID-19 among people who work in many beef and pork plants across the country has led to plant slowdowns and shutdowns, creating a bottleneck in the U.S. meat and livestock supply chain, according to a report from Will Sawyer, Lead Economist at CoBank.

“Nearly two dozen meat plants closed in April due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and many others have slowed their production. This has shrunk U.S. pork and beef capacity by 40% at the end of April,” Sawyer wrote. “Pork and beef production is now approximately 35% below this time last year, making retail shortages and price inflation nearly assured.”

“Soon, U.S. consumers will begin to see in their local meat case the effects of the beef and pork plant shut downs in April, with potentially 30% less meat on shelves and prices up to 20% above last year,” Sawyer concluded.

The full report can be found here.