Mad Cow Worries? Local Auctions Hold 1st Sale of Year

1-5-04 - The Texoma area saw its first cattle sales since the outbreak of Mad Cow Disease. It was mixed new for local ranchers, as the Atoka auction saw a packed house but fewer sales. Owner Phil Hatridge said “If we would have charged admission instead of commission, we would have made money today." It seemed that most ranchers were hesitant to sell today, likely waiting to see what affect the outbreak will have on the market. In Atoka, only 144 head were sold. That’s compared to more than 700 just two weeks ago. But the biggest cut in prices was only seven cents per pound. That’s compared to a more sizable price drop at the Oklahoma National Stockyards. They also saw fewer head of cattle – more than 10,000 fewer than were sold this time last year. A spokesman for the state Agriculture, Food and Forestry Department says prices turned out better than expected though.