U.S. Rep. Massie says country may be ‘weeks’ from food shortages, thanks to COVID-19 shutdowns

(USA Features) U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie says the country may be “weeks” from food shortages due to a “brittle supply chain” caused by coronavirus-related closures.

“We are weeks, not months, away from farmers euthanizing animals that would have been sold for meat/food. Also, fruits and vegetables are going to rot in the fields. A drastic change in policy this week could ameliorate this inevitability,” the Kentucky Republican tweeted Monday.

Massie shared an interview he did for a station in the tristate region of Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky, in which he said farmers could begin euthanizing their livestock and going bankrupt because of reduced markets.

Restaurants, eateries, hotels, and school cafeterias are all closed, leaving farmers fewer markets for their agricultural products.

“You have people running the government that have no clue about how the economy works and how their food gets to the table,” Massie told radio host Tom Roten.

“The shocking thing is that farmers are watching the value of their hogs and steers, cows, go down. In fact, they’re going to some of the lowest levels ever,” he added.

“So the question is: Why is the price of meat going up in the supermarkets and the price of cattle going down at the auction ring? It’s because our supply line is brittle,” he continued.

“You have to take cattle, steer, beef, whatever, hogs, to a processing plant. And these processing plants, like much of industrial America right now, are shutting down because of absentees, which has been exacerbated by the unemployment program the federal government has instituted — plus the $1,200 checks that are about to hit, plus some of the regulations that the states have put in place,” said the Kentucky Republican.

He noted that at least a half-dozen major meat processing plants have closed due to the virus, one of which was processing 1,900 cattle per day.

“I’m afraid you’re going to see … cattle and hogs being euthanized or incinerated and buried while we have shortages at the supermarket. And you talk about civil unrest when you start seeing that. And it’s all because of the brittle food supply chain,” he said, adding he is working on legislation “that would let these local meatpackers sell cuts of meat individually instead of having to sell half a cow or a quarter of a cow.”