Back and forth prospective buyers went as
Cattle are commanding a high price these days in
"We've never sold cattle for this much money, ever," said
At Friday's auction, several feeder cattle sold for as high as
Several who keep tabs on the market statewide and nationwide said a variety of conditions are factoring into the market boom.
"We're fortunate compared to the Midwest and the South. The number of cattle across the nation are down due to a lot of loss," Owens said. "We've seen an increase in numbers in price per pound and price per head."
The local jump in animal revenue, much if not most of which involves cattle, is reflective of what's happening across the state of
"Inventories are low in many areas and have continued to get lower and lower, and as people need cattle they'll go to where they need to go to get them," Fredericks said. "Say you've got a plant processing animals and you've got to keep that plant full. Prices are important but if you can't find cattle to keep your plant running, you go where they are."
Fredericks said it's possible more cattle buyers are coming from out of state for just that reason. Weather events in several states have played a big role in the numbers of cattle being down, with droughts in the Midwest over the past couple years and biting temperatures in the winter in states such as
"Livestock doesn't regenerate quite so quickly. Inventories are down nationally and will stay that way for awhile, but there's some question as to how long they're going to stay that way," Fredericks said.
Back at the auction house, Balmelli said she has seen more people from out of the area swing by for their Friday events.
"We're getting more from
The Chehalis Livestock Market sells cattle for consigners, in turn receiving a commission on what they sell. The market sells three types of cattle: dairy cows, feeder cattle and cattle for slaughter, with each commanding its own price range.
The market boom, however, has had its effect on consumers in addition to ranchers. Higher prices for beef at the auction house transfer to people paying a premium in stores -- again, a byproduct of supply and demand.
"It's one of those things where the shoemaker's kids have no shoes," Balmelli laughed. "As a consumer, I've definitely noticed the prices going up."
Meanwhile, Fredericks said as long as America as a whole continues to consume beef in large quantities, the market should see stability through the coming months and years.
"Simply put, we are a nation of beef eaters," Fredericks said.
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