By Michael Hirtzer and Dominic Carey, Bloomberg
March 24, 2020
The coronavirus crisis is proving an unlikely boon for the Fed Cattle Exchange’s online auction.
Volumes at some U.S. livestock auctions have dwindled in recent weeks as the virus kept buyers and sellers at home. But the FCE, which hosted its first auction about four years ago, has nearly 6,000 head of cattle available for sale at its weekly online event Wednesday. That’s the most in at least a year.
“In a time of uncertainty, people are looking for a more transparent venue to trade cash cattle and provide market signals,” auction representative Emily Jackson said...
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Concerns About COVID-19 and Cattle Auctions Mount
by Christina Stella, NET News (NE)
March 24, 2020
As Americans stocked up for self-isolation, demand for beef shot through the roof nationwide. But as ranchers are wrestling with how to keep business moving without spreading COVID-19 in ranching communities.
Trey Wasserburger held his annual bull sale last week: normally, around 300 buyers visit his ranch in southwest Nebraska. This year, only 60 showed. “It's a different world than it was two weeks ago," he said. "We're just kind of hoping and praying everybody gets through it, and that it's not as bad as they say.”
The beef industry is centered around live sales, and suppliers often cross state lines to attend. But as COVID-19 makes its way across rural Nebraska, Jara Settles of the Livestock Marketing Association says that kind of mingling seems increasingly risky to some.
“It's a delicate balancing act," Settles said. "But I think it’s our moral and ethical obligation to keep agriculture open, to keep people fed. Because a country that can't feed itself can't defend itself."
But Settles said it's important to hold events "the right way" while COVID-19 circulates throughout communities. She's talked with cattle auctions across the state about how to implement social distancing...