East TN Farmers Rush To Sell Livestock, Midwest Famers Look to Buy

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Any little rain helps. Fields are drying out and hay is dying. But across the country, the exact opposite is true, Texas has too much rain.

And their misfortune is big news for East Tennessee cattle farmers.

Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb first had the story last week, and has found out more details at a very crowded Knox County cattle auction.

Last week I spoke with one cattle farmer who said he was going to sale this week because there's not enough pasture or hay available to feed them. He's not alone as farmers all around the area are going to market today.

Cattle are being trucked in to the Knoxville Livestock Center for sale in droves.

"This is a fall run in July,” says Claud Arwine.

"Last year at this time we were selling eight to nine hundred head. Today, I expect we'll have twenty five hundred,” says Knoxville Livestock Center manager Jason Bailey.

With months of dry weather, cattle pastures and the hay supply are drying up.

"My pasture went out. I've got to get rid of all 'um. I've been a selling every chance I got for the last three weeks,” says 80-year-old farmer Jack Davis.

Some of these farmers are selling cattle they'd rather have in the field.

"It's rough,” says Lynn Fields. “It's dry. People are having to sell these little ole calves off."

The toughest part for these farmers is worrying about the buyers’ money supply.

"I don't know what they'll give,” says Davis. “They may run out before they get done as many coming in."

"I don't know. You never know until you get the bill,” Fields says.

But Wednesday there were plenty of buyers, many coming from the Midwest.

"You know, they've had plenty of rain out there so we're getting a lot of cattle bought from that direction of the country and headed that way,” Bailey says.

With plenty of buyers and plenty of food in the Midwest, that's good news for local farmers, but not quite as good a buy for Midwest buyers.

"Prices really have held better than anybody expected,” says Alex Smith, who is in town to buy livestock.

Prices for cattle may remain decent.

Smith says the cheaper prices that usually come in the fall because of the higher numbers may not happen because there won't be as many cattle coming in.

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