Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
With the impending strike at one of the largest processing plants in Canada, the High River Cargill, work still remains steady at Deerview Meats, said co-owner Perry Deering.
Though they struggled to find employees over the course of the year to the point they were unable to accept wild game animals during the height of hunting season, it’s still been a “strong year,” said Deering.
“I think I’m like every other business,” said Deering, “if you’re a bit of essential service you’re always a little bit in need. We’ve been busy though.”
Most of the business Deering gets is from area ranches and from custom cutting, which has allowed for a constant flow of animals and business alike. While Deering still considers his business new, and notes that there are people in the community he knows that have yet to visit, he’s happy with how things have been going, and isn’t overly concerned about the potential for the strike to affect his work.
“The only time the only way that could affect my business is if it became long term,” said Deering. “IThese strikes, whether they turn into, you know, 10, 15, 20, 30, maybe maybe 40 days, there’s still other plants, JBS is still a very large plant. And there’s Harmony Beef as well. So it would take a lengthy period of time until it really started to affect us and, and I don’t foresee that this will be a long term strike. After all, time is money. So these plants, they’ll evaluate that, and I’m sure they’ll get their plant operating as soon as they can.”
Deering predicts that in the event of a long term strike, larger chain stores will bring in beef from the United States, if at a higher price point, but this is something that he does not need to worry about.
“That is the one luxury that I do have, is I have both the producer and the consumer standing in my store. So when these big box stores have this luxury of buying, which is happening now where they’re buying cheaper beef, but their pricing to the consumer stays high, I cannot do that,” said Deering. “Like I said, I’ve got the producer and the consumer standing in my building. So the producers are telling the consumer that, hey, I’ve got to sell my beef way cheaper. And if that consumer doesn’t see that I’ve altered my price and brought my price down to be more in line with what my producers, what they’re receiving, then I’m going to lose both of them. So I have to and there’s a real benefit to there’s a real plus on this. And that is that I all of a sudden get to have the luxury to do that. And hopefully it drives in more people. Because they could say, hey, you know, deerview has, you know, lowered their price by 80 cents on their hamburger this week. And it’ll drive new traffic. So I think that it’s a benefit for me.”
Deering notes he’s been so busy that he hasn’t had time to monitor the price of meat in grocery stores in some time, and has had to go by what customers say when they enter his store, and that demand may stand to grow if the price of product in the larger stores rises due to supple issues.
“They come here, and they’re telling me that, for example, my steaks are way less than this store and my hamburgers way cheaper than this store. And they do know the quality that I do put out because I have a tracking system in here where I can show my customers exactly who I bought that beef from. And that’s that sort of that field to plate that you know my customers are looking for. They’re looking for a little bit of that story behind the product, I want to know where my food comes from. And I provide that service.”