As I was driving to work one morning this week, I was thinking about the tasks that were on my plate for the day. It was a day to be in the office with some set tasks ahead of me, and I was thinking about the e-mail that needed checked and stories to be written. All of those thoughts were going through my mind, when I heard the song, “Real”, by James Wesley. And then the song made me think of a court case in particular I needed to check up on — the Eastern Livestock bankruptcy case.

I realized it’s been over six months since the case began. I check on the case regularly, but today was when it all clicked. Six months? Wow. And, of course, nothing is moving along.

Lawyers are billing hours and the trustee appointed to the case is also racking up the hours. And I’m not saying these people are not due their pay. I understand they are fighting for their clients rights in the case and deserve compensation.

The problem is that the cattle producers have now gone over six months and they still don’t have any income from the cattle they sold in November and the checks bounced. For some, it has meant bankruptcy for themselves and the loss of dreams.

I found a court document from the bankruptcy court where a court date is set for June 24 for a possible settlement. Let’s hope some type of settlement can be made before land is auctioned off and sales are held. However, that could be too late for more producers, as time drags on and the bills continue to compound from the result of the lost income.

For others, they have managed to keep moving on. Just as everyone tries to do in agriculture.

The lyric that made me think of the case was,

“And the survivors are farmers in John Deere hats, Our Amazing Race is beating the check, praying that the bank ain’t ran it through yet.”

“Real, like too much rain falling from the sky, real, like the drought that came around here last July. It’s the damn old weevils and the market and the weeds. The prayer they prayed when they plant the seeds and the chance they take to bring us our next meal. I call that real.”

I bet many of the cattlemen didn’t think it was too big of a chance to take their cattle to the sale that first week in November, unfortunately, it was the chance they took. I think with the late planting we are experiencing, all farmers can relate to the song and the chances they take in all types of agriculture.

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses with her husband, Kurt. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism.
Kristy Foster Seachrist
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