Extreme Temps Hit Local Farmers
CAMDEN, Tenn. — Barry Carter, the owner of Carter Farms in Benton county, says in his 25 years of raising cattle he’s never seen a winter this cold. He says the dangerous wind chills are forcing him to buy extra hay to keep his cattle warm. “In the last few months I have probably spent in money buying feed probably $1,200 more than I spent all last year,” Carter said. Because cows need protein and food to survive the bitter temperatures, the Benton County Co-Op says they’ve seen an increase in animal feed sales. Jefferey Roach with the University of Tennessee extension at Benton County says if cattle are not properly fed, this extreme weather can be deadly. “The energy requirements of cattle can increase dramatically during periods of cold weather,” Roach said. Roach tells farmers to pay close attention to their animals living conditions. “One of the main things be sure they have access to clean drinking water and its not frozen over,” Roach said. “Many cattle have ponds as their primary source of drinking water.” For now, the Carter farm is keeping extra bales of hay and plenty of feed in case weather gets worse. “We just have to adapt and survive in the cattle business you never know from one year to the next what the weathers gonna bring,” Carter said. Although this extreme cold snap is costing farmers more money, they say it shouldn’t impact the price of beef at the grocery store. The UT extension office is not offering financial assistance to farmers. The office says they have agents standing by to help answer any questions about keeping livestock safe through this winter weather.