Jim Schwertner, CEO and president of Capitol Land & Livestock, says his business has had its ups and downs because of the coronavirus epidemic. But it's a hardy enterprise and can weather storms.
"We are an essential business," said the Austin resident, "As soon as word came out on shelter-in-place, the meat market went up about 10%, because everyone was hoarding."
Three weeks later, it dropped 20%.
"Everybody's freezer was full," said Schwertner. "So, we disrupted the supply chain, as for all commodities. Just like toilet paper. But that'll change. Our business is fine."
Capitol Land & Livestock occupies a 20,000-acre ranch on the other side of I-35 from Jarrell. You can find the ranch on most maps identified as Schwertner, Tex. Schwertner makes the 40-mile drive from his home in Northwest Hills most days.
Jim is the son of Eugene Schwertner, who established the business in 1946. Jim's son Jimmy is vice president. Capitol Land & Livestock buys 400,000 calves a year—it is one of the largest cattle dealers in the United States. Cattle are trucked in each night and most are sold and shipped the next day. Through a year, 175,000 are kept on the ranch to be weaned and given supplemental feed, a process that adds value to the calves.
Schwertner is led to believe by his experience with cattle that we are going to get through the COVID-19 epidemic. "When it starts getting hot, a lot of the viruses in cattle die off. I think when we get warm weather people will start coming out."
He added, "The hardest hit businesses will be restaurants and hotels until people gain confidence that they're doing the right thing to sanitize. Then, once we get people out and mobile, I think the whole world will feel more optimistic. It's depressing to sit home and watch the news and worry about your family."
He added, "I'm pretty optimistic that the worst is just about over."
The University of Texas-Austin continued its march toward a new normal on Friday, as university President Gregory Fenves marked his last day of leadership after five years in office—the final two months of it dominated by sweeping pandemic-era changes on campus.
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Protests over police killings planned for Austin this weekend following widespread demonstrations across U.S.
At least two protests are planned in Austin this weekend over the recent killings of black men by police: Mike Ramos, who was fatally shot by an Austin Police Department officer on April 24 in Southeast Austin, and George Floyd, who died in police custody on Monday after a Minneapolis Police Department officer knelt on his neck. Both events were filmed.
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As Texas navigates reopening restaurants and bars safely, al fresco spots provide the perfect place for long-quarantined Austin residents. Some of these favorites are open only on the patio, others are allowing customers to eat to-go orders in the space, and a few are full service—the details are subject to change. This is not an all-inclusive list, but here they are, in no particular order:
Upscale seafood fare is served under striped umbrellas on the tree-lined porch, with dogs allowed and an unfettered view of South Congress foot traffic.
Address: 1400 S. Congress Ave.
- Reopening today: the zoo (masks required), water parks (advanced tickets required), driver's license offices (appointments required).
- As protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis spread to cities around the county, a demonstration drawing attention to both Floyd and Mike Ramos is planned for Austin this weekend.
- With local businesses concerned they can't make a profit at limited capacity, the city council may soon allow the use of sidewalks and parking lots to increase it, CBS Austin reports.
- KUT notes that, ultimately, it's up to voters to decide who votes by mail.
- Aaron Franklin will be inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame, writes Daniel Vaughn at Texas Monthly, just as his restaurant faces its biggest challenge yet.
'This has dwarfed anything else we've seen': Nonprofits adapt to soaring need, fewer volunteers and a fundraising slump
Since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Austin, the Central Texas Food Bank has seen a tenfold increase in food costs.
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