COLUMBUS — Cattlemen from Ohio and across the country gathered on the grounds of the Ohio Expo Center for the Ohio Beef Expo March 18-20.
The show rings were full of men, women and children showing off their pride with cattle that had obviously been labored over for hours to get their hair to look just right. And sales in the breed auctions appeared to put a smile on both the owners’ and buyers’ faces.
The real question, though, was whether or not attendees were making purchases with the price of beef being at a high.
Will Mahoney, of Giant Rubber Water Tanks, said he was having a good year at the event compared to past years where the consumer was really tight with cash.
“They are wanting to invest in equipment,” Mahoney said.
He added the farmers are wanting to increase in herd size and make a transition from a traditional cattle farm to intensive grazing.
Mahoney said that he felt the increased price for beef was getting visitors to spend money.
Nate Aguredakes, of Straight A’s Ranch Supply, said the company was definitely noticing an increase in the number of chutes sold.
“People aren’t afraid of the high corn prices,” Aguredakes said.
He added he had more customers taking about purchasing cattle and upgrading their breeding programs than in previous years.
Don Preston, of Big Valley Cattle Equipment, said the customers stopping by his booth were looking for different products than in past years.
Preston said people were apprehensive about the price of corn, but were interested in getting a savings in other areas, and he noticed people looking for equipment that helped to cut costs — for example, hay feeders that reduced the waste.
Dean Armstrong, Townsend’s Sales, said his operation also noticed an up tick in customers and sales.
“Things are starting to move,” Armstrong said.
He said cow herds have to increase and he is seeing a lot of new interest from new customers. He estimated about 25-50 percent more people wanting to get into the cattle business.
Armstrong said the one big factor that needs to be considered, though, is the combination of high corn prices, high fuel prices, unrest in Libya, and devastation in Japan.
“The tighter things get, the more inputs cost; the better job we have to do,” Armstrong said.