December 27, 2003 -- Posted at 4:58 p.m. CST
CHARLOTTE--Keith Lovell is the President of the Batesville Stockyard and says mad cow disease is something to be concerned about...and the affect it's having on local cattle prices.
"We're going to make the market what we can of it...it's a shame that one cow that far away has that much affect on this country, you know and on this community," said Lovell.
Ben Honeycutt is a buyer and seller, and says, "I'm not worried about it, I have a little concern, but I've weathered a lot of storms and I think it will come right back. I'm certainly not alarmed as for as taking them home and putting them in pasture."
Folks were busy today watching and waiting to see what kind of prices local cattle will bring, in the wake of the threat of mad cow disease.
Most were just out watching, like Charles Fraser.
"I'm out to watch the sale and see what effect the mad cow disease is going to have on it. I certainly feel like it's going to go down, but I hope not," said Fraser.
Folks here weren't sure what cattle prices were going to bring today, but early into the auction, prices are looking good, considering the situation.
"It's a concern," admits Nicholas Steele, "but we're still going to produce and go about everything like we normally would."
"They may be down a little bit, but not as much as we anticipated," said Allen Smith.
Today's special auction had about 600 cattle to sell....and while the crowd was more serious today, there still wasn't a seat in the house.
"The good note to this is not a lot of people have not called wanting to sell their cattle, so that's a sign that people maybe want to ride this thing out," said Lovell.
And while the threat of mad cow disease is still many thousands of miles away, it isn't stopping folks here from enjoying eating beef.
"We're not worried about that at all. We're not worried about eating beef here. I've eat beef since Tuesday and I'll eat a steak tonight if I can afford it," laughed Lovell.