Rising feed prices hurt East Texas meat producers

Published: Feb. 5, 2023 at 6:21 PM CST
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WOOD COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - With the economy, gas prices and inflation, East Texas cattle, pig and chicken producers also have to deal with rising feed prices.

But the struggle has some just getting by.

“It’s hard to feed these animals and get the production out of them you want. Fertilizer prices for the hay is so high, we had a terrible drought this last year. It’s costing everybody more for electricity, costing everybody more for food. Fuel, everything,” says Bobby Trimble , owner of ‘Trimble Farms’ in Upshur County.

On top of that: Feed prices.

Chicken feed, for example, which was 9 to 10 dollars a 50-pound bag a few years ago, is now up to 16 dollars a bag.

“We’ve definitely felt the rise in feed prices. We use a non-GMO, non-soy feed so, by default our prices are higher. Rising feed costs has definitely been a hindrance to us these last 2 years,” says Tanner Spurlock, owner of ‘Fuller Farms’ pork and poultry in Wood county.

“Whenever that happens, it just jacks the price up on everything and everybody. They have to pass it on to dairies like me. We in turn have to survive and pass it on to the customer,” Trimble says.

Small and independent producers have to struggle with feeding their stock and trying not to pass the extra cost to the consumer.

“We know how hard it is just to get by. We know how hard it is for people who live paycheck to paycheck,” says Trimble.

For most producers the challenge now is to be innovative about how you can cut costs.

“Building fence, especially for pigs, building the woven wire fencing can be expensive. we got around that by training our pigs to single strand electric. I can build this entire 5 acre rotation we’re doing here for 100 -120 bucks, instead of 1000 bucks in t-posts and woven wire,” Spurlock says.

Dealing with an unsure future, producers still need to get their stock fed and in the best possible condition.

And hope for a better economy.

“That’s the main thing, is if the economy will just turn around,” Trimble says.

Outfits like ‘Fuller Farms’ has taken to joining a Facebook group to market and increase business through networking locally.