Why cattle farmers say higher corn prices are squeezing profits


By Erin Kelly, Spectrum News 1 (KY)

Jun. 07, 2021


SPENCER COUNTY, Ky. — You may notice you’re paying more for beef at the grocery store these days, but Kentucky’s cattle farmers say that doesn’t mean they’re seeing a bigger profit.


Nathan Lawson and his family raise cattle on about 500 acres on Lawson Family Farms in Spencer County.


Lawson has cattle in all stages of growth, including calves born this spring that are feeding on grass and milk from their mothers, weaned calves born last fall, and calves a little more than a year old, called "yearlings."


“At this point in the life cycle of these calves, we typically make a marketing decision about how many of them will be sold through our stockyards or off the farm to cattle buyers and how many we will keep back," said Lawson, standing in a pasture filled with yearlings.


Once they’re sold, they’ll gain more weight in a feed lot, likely outside Kentucky on a corn-heavy diet, but higher corn prices are hurting the industry, Lawson told Spectrum News 1...