A cold, dry winter is escalating the drought problem in many areas.
I often scroll through my Facebook and Twitter news feeds to get ideas for blog posts. As I perused the comments from my ranching friends from across the country, I could have concluded it was a slow news day, until I realized that everyone was talking about the same thing -- the cold weather.
Whether you live in the South and your idea of cold is below freezing, or if you live in the North and you’ve gotten pretty sick and tired of seeing a negative before the number on your temperature gauge, I think it’s safe to say that many of us in the cattle business are tired of winter.
With March just around the corner, I keep hoping for signs of spring; however, looking at the weather forecast for the week ahead, I don’t think spring is even close to making its arrival.
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Driving east a couple of weeks ago for a speaking engagement in Wisconsin, I couldn’t believe the snow drifts that were piled up. However, at home in South Dakota, we’ve barely had any snow cover at all since that first blizzard back in October. It’s been a cold, dry, open winter, and for drought-stricken areas, this is only making matters worse.
I recently came across an article in the The Daily, an Oklahoma-based publication, entitled, “Coldest, Driest Winter In Years Creates Worries For Farmers.” The article gives an idea of how bad things are actually getting for some ranchers.
Here is an excerpt: “The drought impact started being evident in 2011. From fall 2010 to the end of 2011, Oklahoma’s agricultural industry lost about $1 billion. U.S. corn exports were the lowest they had been since 1970, at 715 million bushels, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) data.
“The drought hit Oklahoma and most of the nation with full force.But it didn’t stop there. The Midwest and Plains regions of the nation were estimated to have lost $35 billion in 2012, according to the NDMC data.From 2011 to 2012, ranchers in Oklahoma sold nearly 20% of their cattle because of low feed and water supply.
“At the end of 2013, 71% of Oklahoma was categorized as at least ‘abnormally dry.’ The combination of three cold, dry winters create worse than ‘abnormal’ circumstances for farmers, says Gail Holland, USDA county executive director.”
Read the entire article here, which includes a rancher’s testimony of how he is getting through this tough winter.
How is the weather this winter in your neck of the woods? Are you getting any moisture? What is the drought status in your area? Share with us in the comments section below.
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