No Texas ranchers plan to leave the cattle business as the state's worst one-year drought on record persists, but 8% say they won't have any animals next year, according to a survey released by Texas' largest livestock group.
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) got responses from fewer than 10% of the 8,995 ranchers in the nation's leading-production state contacted to do the online survey in late August.
"We feel that the numbers will rebound once the moisture gets back to normal," says Eldon White, (TSCRA) president. "It will probably be more expensive when they buy those animals back."
The U.S. herd is at its lowest level since the 1950s and officials say the low number will mean higher beef prices over the next couple of years.
The drought and blistering triple-digit heat in Texas has left pastures and grazing lands brown and crispy, forcing ranchers to severely cull their herds. So far, crop and livestock losses from the drought in Texas are estimated at a record $5.2 billion. Officials expect that amount to rise.