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Corn Prices Weigh on TN Livestock Farmers

While grain producers in Tennessee are having a bumper year, those same market forces are making feed more expensive for cattle and poultry farmers, the state’s top Agriculture official said.

“Various droughts around the world have reduced our inventories to the point that prices are extremely good for the grain farmers. We went through somewhat of a drought this year, but actually recovered with a decent crop in a lot of cases,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said during a state budget hearing earlier this month.

“And then in a lot of cases, some farmers around Weakley County along the state line actually lost 100 percent of their corn crop, but came back with soybeans and so forth.”

Julius JohnsonJulius Johnson

Johnson continued: “If you’re feeding feed, this is where you get hit. And so the poultry industry in the state is being hit hard, livestock feeders and so forth, but a lot of the livestock prices have been strong to overcome some of that.”

Johnson is requesting $68.2 million in state funding for the Department of Agriculture for the next fiscal year, holding near steady with the amount the agency received this year and up about 5 percent from the $65 million state budget for fiscal year 2012.

The department’s purview includes food safety, agribusiness, conservation and wildfire prevention.

To view other state budget hearings, click here.