Cattle farmers having to ‘cut corners’ over high diesel prices

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 8:38 PM CDT
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ROGERSVILLE, Mo. (KY3) - Inflation and supply chain issues affect nearly everyone, from parents to business owners and local farmers in the Ozarks.

Keith Baxter is the part-owner of the K and K Cattle Company, and he said the start of this year had been a struggle.

“We’re in survival mode. We’re cutting corners where we can,” said Baxter.

Baxter said he is a 7th generation farmer, and they have been farming on the same land in Rogersville since 1856.

But Baxter said his ancestors wouldn’t be able to fathom the high prices he’s now paying to run the farm.

“The tractors going to burn roughly $30 an hour in diesel fuel,” said Baxter. “Three tractors, so that’s $90 an hour. So that’s nine, roughly $900 a day.”

Baxter said he’s doing everything he can to keep the farm afloat.

“Anywhere we can cut corners, as far as the machinery is concerned,” said Baxter.

Baxter said the family is putting off repairs on some of their tractors because of the costs to try and save a little in the long run.

“If we have a machine that goes down, well, I could be running it. Lost efficiency costs money,” said Baxter.

Baxter said beef prices hadn’t affected him, but the cost of everything around it has caused issues.

Especially fertilizer, as Baxter said they are spreading a bit thinner these days, and that isn’t all of it.

“We’re cutting our actual cattle numbers down to make our pasture last longer,” said Baxter.

Baxter said he would do what has kept the farm running for more than a century.

“Adapting is one of the mainstays of agriculture,” said Baxter. “There’s just so many things that are out of our control that you just have to learn to roll. Control what you can and adapt to what you can’t.”

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