Carving into the meat market

During the COVID-19 pandemic, cattle producers and others found it difficult to find openings at area butchers. A local businessman saw an opportunity to open a new meat locker in LaHarpe.

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July 22, 2021 - 9:50 AM

From left, Virgle “Red Bone” Valentine, Chris Weston and Gene Weatherbie are the proprietors of Bovine and Swine Meat Locker on the outskirts of LaHarpe, at the intersection of 2400 Street and U.S. 54. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

LAHARPE — One of the myriad byproducts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the way it hampered production at feedlots across the country, was the cost of beef.

Just as importantly, it also meant great difficulty for cattle producers to get their animals processed.

Gene Weatherbie was one of those cattlemen — forced to hold on to his livestock longer than normal as he waited for openings at area butchers.

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