Texas cattle ranchers are selling their herds.
Although parts of Texas have received a small reprieve from the disastrous drought with shots of rain this week, the impacts from the dry, hot weather conditions are causing ranchers to break a sweat. As pastures dry up, more heifers and cows are heading to slaughter, a devastating end for many ranchers who have been in production for generations.
It could take several years, if ever, for some of these operations to restock. These cattle dispersals won't just impact cattlemen, either. Economists predict the impact on the consumer will be two or three years down the road, with the price of beef skyrocketing.
"Things are very tough and they will stay tough until Mother Nature helps us and gets us a good rain. Because we're not raising the amount of grass that we usually do, we're having to destock these ranches. We are having to cut the numbers down and sell cows that we don't want to. And, since it is dry in a huge area, most of these cows are going to go to slaughter," says Pete Bonds, who raises cattle on his family ranch west of Fort Worth, TX.
Bill Hyman, executive director of the Independent Cattlemen's Association of Texas, adds, "I would say that overall in Texas, ranchers have already sold more than 30% of their herds. A lot of ranchers are just giving up."
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