USDA: Meat cash receipts cut in Md.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The coronavirus pandemic likely drove cash receipts from meat sales in Maryland down by nearly a third in 2020, recently released USDA data show.
Cash receipts fell 29 percent to $70.3 million. Almost all of those sales — more than 90 percent — were cattle and calves, from which cash receipts fell 32 percent from $93.5 million in 2019 to $64 million in 2020.
After the pandemic shuttered already-overburdened processing plants across the state, some Maryland farmers may have moved their animals to out-of-state markets, which may not have been included in Maryland’s cash-receipts total, said Scott Barao, executive director the Maryland Cattlemen’s Association in Frederick County.
“Nobody could get anything processed,” he said. “(Farmers) weren’t going to continue to feed them so they had to go somewhere.”
A regional USDA statistician said it wasn’t immediately clear how out-of-state marketing may have affected the totals.
Regional farmers markets were also shuttered or opened later in the spring, making it more difficult for some farmers to retail processed meat, Barao said. Farmers may have also been hampered by restaurant closures.
Cash receipts for hogs and pigs, however, rose 14 percent to $6.34 million. Marketings totaled about 13 million pounds in 2020, up 20 percent from 2019. Changes in gross income for cattle and hog farmers largely mirrored the cash receipts.
Total production of cattle and calves in Maryland fell 20 percent to 59 million pounds, and production for hogs and pigs rose 19 percent to 12 million pounds.
In Delaware, cash receipts for meat animals rose 8 percent to about $12 million. Cattle and calves were about 55 percent of this total and the rest were hogs and pigs.
Cattle and calves cash receipts increased 19 percent to $6.5 million, and receipts from hogs and pigs totaled $5.4 million, down 3 percent.