Doc Haskins Reflects on Cyclical Nature of Cattle BusinessWed, 19 Nov 2014 18:13:09 CST
Doc Haskins does what he loves and loves what he does -- in working in the cattle business. Haskins is a veterinarian as well as a long time field representative for the Joplin Regional Stockyards. He has been involved in the cattle business nearly all his life. He bought his first cattle when he was five years old. The only time he didn't own cattle was while he was in veterinary school. For decades he has worked as a food animal and equine veterinarian in having his own veterinary clinic. As he nears retirement he said these days he spends more time consulting and helping people with their animals.
On Monday, Farm Director Ron Hays traveled to the Joplin Stockyards as Radio Oklahoma Network affiliate KRMO, Monett, Missouri had a remote at the sale barn. Hays interviewed Haskins. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to the full interview.
At 68 years of age, Haskins also continues to work as a field representative for the Joplin Regional Stockyards in working with cattle producers in Missouri and Oklahoma along with shooting video of cattle for the video auctions. Haskin said he considers working in the cattle business like taking a full time vacation- he loves.
Through the years, Haskins has been through the highs and lows of the cattle market. He still vividly remembers the cattle cycles of the early 70's, the 80's and the mid 90's when cattle prices were very low, but he didn't expect to see the market get to these record high levels.
"I never thought the cattle would ever get this high and I said 15 years ago if I ever sold a steer for a thousand dollars that I would retire," Haskins said. "I'm still not retired, but these prices are amazing."
There are a lot of factors that have effected the market. Haskins said the biggest factor in how high prices have gone was the drought and how it effected the market in decreasing the number of cows in southwest Missouri along with many other states. Southwest Missouri was a major cow-calf production area, but numbers dramatically declined when the drought hit. He said the region was extremely dry from the summer of 2011 into 2012 and producers didn't have enough grass to sustain their herd.
"Some of the cows were older cows that needed to be culled, a lot of them were young cows that didn't need to go,"Haskins said. "So our cow numbers, plus corn got real high and people planted corn on land around here in this country that really isn't corn ground."
As the price of corn has dropped substantially and the price of cattle has gone to record high levels, Haskins looks for a lot of farm ground to be seeded back into grass for cattle. He thinks its just a matter of time.
In working with cattle producers in both Missouri and Oklahoma, Haskins said producers are very up beat right now, but there is a concern as to how long these prices will stay and what kind of gamble it is to increase herd numbers.
"You got to be cautious and you have to be careful with what you do and you just don't want to leverage yourself to where you can't handle it," Haskins said. "People are buying cows, people are increasing their herds some, but it's not a large increase, its gradual. These springer cows have gotten real high, pairs are high right now and people are being very cautious because the price they are, they have to sell a couple high priced calves in order to make that work and they realize that. People are really upbeat, they are in a good mood, they are very happy with what we got now. Of course they are just hoping it will stay and knowing it won't."
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