NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – When New Mexico had its first confirmed cases of COVID-19 people flocked to the grocery stores. One of the first things snatched off the shelves was meat and because of that high demand, New Mexico ranchers are working to keep up.

It’s not that the supply in New Mexico is low, it’s just as the demand has significantly increased but getting beef processed and to the public can take time.

“There are lots of ways for consumers today to buy beef and so we’re seeing a shift. We monitor beef demands, of course, across the state but also across the country and we’re seeing beef demand go up by 7% in the country in the last week,” said Dina Reitzel.

Reitzel the executive director of the New Mexico Beef Council says as demands increase for beef, shoppers are exploring new ways to get the product. She said while many people choose to shop at grocery stores other went to places like Kellers, saying they have seen an increase in business.

The Beef Council says the 7,000 ranchers have plenty of supply but the difficulty is getting the beef processed fast enough. A local rancher who sells to the public says they are sold out.

“We’ve had a lot of new customers the last couple of weeks, and that was so encouraging that people wanted to come and buy directly from our farm, support the local economy and get beef right here from Valencia County,” said Addie Haynes.

Haynes owns the Haynes Cattle Company in Tome New Mexico with her family. They raise their cattle and sell directly to the public. She said they will be back in stock later this month.

The director of the Beef Council said many of the meat markets are adapting, like making freezer packs and individual custom cuts. most ranchers are still doing their spring cattle work right now, in preparation for the fall when they typically do the most selling.