Dodge City truckers keep on trucking despite pandemic

Local

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – The pandemic changed the meat industry as a whole, slowing production, dropping prices, and creating backlogs. 

Bartel Truck Line LLC is a family-run trucking company that has been in business for 28 years. They transport feeder and fat cattle to and from the Dodge City area. But when the pandemic hit, business slowed.

The meat industry is a cycle.

“It’s, it’s a puzzle, is a circle. If one of that piece is missing, you’re not gonna get that beef in your grocery store. It’s not gonna happen,” said Lynn Bartel, Co-Owner of Bartel Truck Line LLC.

As waves of the virus spread throughout the nation, many meat processing plants halted production, meaning no cattle could be transported in or out.

“They didn’t have the room, so nothing was moving,” said Bartel.

The number of cattle being processed was slim, leading to a reduction in the volume of beef throughout the country.

“It affected everybody. Not only us but the sale barns and the people that produce the cattle and sale the cattle,” she said.

The farm bureau reported a 34% percent drop in beef production compared to the previous year.

This drop put the brakes to the trucking industry.

Lynn says the hardest part was the uncertainty.

“Not knowing if there was going to be an end to this. If we were going to get past it.”

But as the industry adapts to the pandemic, production is slowly returning, and now, the Bartel’s are back trucking.

“We were able to make it through and make it to the other side, and now it’s hopefully going to get back to what a new normal is for us,” she said.

Lynn says the number of hauls has picked up, they are back in the busy season, and thankful for the business.

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