The coming year could be good for cattle producers, but there are a lot of “ifs” attached to that forecast.

With the nation's cow herd at the lowest it's been in the past 50 years or so, there is some optimism for 2010 among cattle producers at the National Western Stock Show. But it is cautious optimism at best.

“I'm one of those glass half-full kind of guys, but I truly believe we can see some exceedingly excellent times in the beef industry this year,” Kevin Ochsner of Kersey said. But, he quickly added, a lot of that depends on how quickly the world economy rebounds.

The Ochsner family, Kevin and Julie and their three children, Caitlyn, 12, Ashlyn 9 and Collin, 6, took four animals to the National Western last week. They have a herd of about 130 purebred Limousin and Lim-Flex cattle east of Kersey. They also operate Ochsner Tenderlean Beef, offering meat by the whole, half and quarter, which is processed either at Steving Meat Co. of Kersey or through Innovative Foods of Evans. Lim-Flex cattle are a crossbred, one-half Limousin and one-half Angus.

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