Cattle industry suffering during COVID-19 pandemic

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COLUMBIA — Rachel Lindbloom, a cattle farmer, works at her family farm in Brookfield, Mo. raising calves. But because of COVID-19, her future plans for her cattle have been ruined.

Lindbloom has 86 in her group of livestock and normally sells them for around $1200 each. Today, she said she's expecting half of that price.

“This is our big pay day,” Lindbloom said. “We have a $33,000 invoice on the dining room table right now.”

She said Wednesday afternoon is when she is selling them, and normally all of her family's bills get paid.

“That’s a lot of money that comes in all at once,” she said.

But Lindbloom said the cattle industry as a whole has changed.

“Because of this whole COVID-19, nobody can buy them, nobody has money to buy them, has time to buy them, it's hard to get someone to ship them to market,” Lindbloom said.

Eric Bohl, Director of Public Affairs and Advocacy for the Missouri Farm Bureau said COVID-19 is making virtual auctions the new normal.

“They usually like to do that in person at livestock sales, in person with their own eyes, and now they’re having to do that virtually," Bohl said.

Lindbloom said this time has been very stressful, but she is reminding herself why she is here in the first place.

“We do it because we love it, because we love the animals," she said. "It's a whole culture and it's really meaningful to support those little people, those little farmers.”