Local News

Cattle Buyers At Oxford Auction Show Confidence In Market's Future

Posted January 5, 2004

— Some cattle auctions in parts of the country report smaller crowds and lower prices due to a case of mad cow disease in Washington state; however, it was standing room only at the Oxford Livestock Arena Saturday.

Cattle producer Ingrid Volk of Franklinton had second thoughts about selling at the auction.

"You wonder, 'Should I sell or not?' But I decided yes," she said.

Volk's bulls sold well. She said good breeder stock sales show there is confidence in the market's future.

"You're not selling for the moment, you're selling for stock that will be marketed in about a year or so," she said.

Commercial calves were not shown at the auction. They are the next to join the food chain at the very time several countries have banned U.S. beef imports and consumers fear beef tainted by mad cow disease.

"I don't know of anybody that sold any calves off the farm since the news broke. I'm curious to see how that part of the industry is going to be affected by this," said Bill Wilson, president of the North Carolina Cattlemen's Association.

Consumer perception is everything in the beef business, but producers are confident the controls in place will keep their cattle healthy and the beef uncontaminated.

"The way cattle are raised on pastures and on grass, there's virtually no chance that any of our cattle could have been contaminated and be carriers of mad cow disease," Wilson said.

Wilson believes the mad cow problem will be contained in Washington state.

"It was a good positive, a good positive crowd in there," Volk said.

There has never been a documented case of mad cow disease originating anywhere in the United States. The animal at the center of the scare in Washington state was born in Canada.

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