Cattle farmers suffer from folks eating more hamburgers

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

HOPE HULL, AL (WSFA) - Mike Henry isn't hearing as much "moo"ing these days.

That's because there are aren't as many cattle on his farm.

"It's affecting us a pretty good bit," says Henry.

He normally has 600 cows on his farm.

This's about half that.

The reason?  People aren't spending like they used to.

"Everybody's trying to save money where they can and one of them is choosing a hamburger or pork or something over a steak," adds Henry.

That change means a 15% drop in profit for Henry and it's making it hard to pay for anything more than farming costs--bringing change to both the farm and the family finances.

"We get to eat out maybe once every two weeks now," says Henry.

"I try to help more on the farm, and just budgeting, cutting back on things we know we don't have to have," adds Henry's wife, Denise.

Not only is the struggling economy making times tougher for cattle farmers, but most any farmer will tell you one other thing is complicating the problem.

"Weather..."adds Henry.

The recent rains are delaying crop picking for many farmers, meaning cattle feed isn't as plentiful.

On top of that, "I'm still trying to get my second cut of hay which I should have gotten up in July up now," adds Henry.

But the Henry family is trying not to let it get them down.

"It's a team effort, so it's not so bad," says Denise Henry.

"[It's] a learning experience, but I'd rather learn a different way," adds Henry.

Their hoping this year they'll simply break even without breaking the bank.

Henry says the good news for consumers is he doesn't believe the crunch should affect overall meat prices.

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