VILONIA, Ark. – A Central Arkansas meat processing company has made changes for the upcoming hunting season. Cypress Valley Meat Company will no longer accept deer or wild game.
“Before COVID, we were seeing really strong demand on the local farm to table movement, but since COVID, it’s exploded,” CEO Andy Shaw said.
Shaw said in a normal year farmers and deer hunters use his facility to process meat. Once the coronavirus pandemic hit, meat started flying off store shelves. Those stores are now relying heavily on local farmers, which in turn has caused a backlog at Cypress Valley.
“We’re a strategic partner to the farmer,” Shaw said. “We’re the processing link that allows them to bring in their live animal and allow it to get to different markets to take it to, whether it’s back to their homes or if it’s to farmers market or river markets or through e-commerce channels.”
Cypress Valley recently announced on Facebook that its Pottsville and Clinton locations will not allow any deer or wild game during the upcoming hunting season. That will allow them to focus on the increased demand from the farming community. However, it will lease its Vilonia facility to Southern Harvest Deer Processing for local hunters to use.
“Both customer bases are extremely important to us and we laid out the options and there wasn’t a perfect scenario, so we tried to find which one was best overall to accommodate both customer bases and this was the best strategy that we could come up with,” Shaw said.
As for the next hunting season in 2021, Shaw said they were still figuring out what the future will look like.