COVID-19 pandemic leads to uncertainty for cattle producers

Published: Mar. 26, 2020 at 6:38 PM CDT
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While beef may seem to be flying off the shelf at your local grocery store, the money cattle producers are making doesn't reflect the apparent demand.

With the economic blow to many industries due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) and efforts to slow the spread, beef producers re wondering if they should sell their cattle for low prices now or wait, and hope those prices go back up.

Uncertainty comes for cattle operations across Kansas and nationwide, including Tiffany's Cattle near Herrington, Uncertainty about the coronavirus tanked beef prices across the U.S., but as situations at grocery stores shows, the demand is definitely there, at least for now.

Shawn Tiffany with Tiffany's Cattle says future demand is still uncertain. This leaves producers with tough decisions on when to sell their cattle.

Considerations with cattle include costs for their care.

"We still have to take care of the well-being of these animals," Tiffany says.

He points out feeding them costs more money.

"We've been having to work with customers on managing their risk and, 'how do we navigate this from a financial standpoint?" Tiffany says. "And working with packers to get fair prices."

Tiffany says agriculture is a resilient industry, but for many, the near future doesn't look bright.

"There's going to be a lot of agriculture professionals that are no longer in business because of the financial hit that this brings about," he says.

But he says he'll continue to work through this pandemic so people can continue to put beef on their plates.