Working to stay afloat: Value of livestock cut for Pee Dee cattle farm

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MARION, SC (WBTW) – Cattle ranches across the country are feeling the impact of the coronavirus and are working to do more than just break even.

Spear T. Cattle in Marion says cattle are usually raised on their farm until they are big enough to sell to feed yards.

Thomas Jones of the ranch says livestock value has been cut by 30%.

“With the coronavirus and the stock market collapsing like it did, the commodity’s market also collapsed, that’s devalued everything that we have in a very short time,” said Jones.

To offset the loss of profit, the ranch is now selling from farm to table.

“In the last 45 days we’ve started direct some of our beef to consumers. We’re not selling individual retail cuts, we’ll sell a quarter, half, or a whole steer at a time, processed,” said Jones.

Jones says crops have also been planted with hopes that people will shop locally when executive orders are lifted.

“Encourage people to buy local produce and encourage people to look where there stuff comes from,” said Jones.

Jones says these are temporary solution.

“You can’t take every animal in that field and direct market and expect for it to happen in a timely manner. These animals, they’re ready to gain. They’ve all got a clock on their back and we can’t keep them here forever,” said Jones.

Produce farmers who profit off of direct selling are also hurting.

The Waccamaw Market Cooperative says opening season for Horry and Georgetown Counties farmers markets have been delayed.

In a statement to News13 the cooperative said:

The WMC markets are currently delayed, they were initially scheduled to open May 1. We’re hopeful to announce an opening date soon!

Samantha Tipton, Executive Director

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