Webb City-based meat processor says they’ve avoided big price hikes

An Employee Works At Sj Processing In Webb City

WEBB CITY, Mo. – According to the most recent Consumer Price Index posted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of beef has risen 17.6% during the last year.

And while prices have also gone up for Webb City’s S&J Processing and Joplin’s Ol’ Hickory Premium Smokehouse which are both owned by the same family, management says their increases are nothing compared to what national grocery chains are seeing.

“Definitely went up a little bit. We’ve dealt with the shipping issues and stuff like that, that everybody else has. But for the most part, we teamed up with Show Me Beef which is locally raised, and they’ve done a pretty good job of keeping their prices even, so we’ve actually been able to just this week lower a lot of our prices,” said Ol’ Hickory manager Wyatt Sargent.

S&J Processing manager Zack Carey says that dealing with local suppliers and having a more intimate knowledge of the needs of their customers has also helped them keep prices relatively stable.

“On a local level, we’re able to adjust how much we sell and how much we can get in. We can develop relationships with our customers so that we know how much is going to be purchased,” said Carey.

These meat sellers may have been able exert more control over their prices by dealing with local livestock and cutting out the middleman, but S&J is still trying to overcome a backlog of meat to be processed due to shortages caused by the pandemic.

“So we’ve gotten down to about 6 months but it is still a much longer waiting list than it was before the pandemic,” said Carey.