NATIONAL NEWS

Farmers forced to sell their cows as drought conditions worsen across US

Jul 25, 2022, 9:38 AM
Buyers and sellers watch as cattle go through the sale barn arena at Abilene Livestock Auction on J...
Buyers and sellers watch as cattle go through the sale barn arena at Abilene Livestock Auction on July 12 in Abilene, Texas. Drought has been forcing ranchers to begin selling off their herds as pastures dry or burn up in the summer weather. (Ronald W. Erdrich/Abilene Report/AP via CNN)
(Ronald W. Erdrich/Abilene Report/AP via CNN)

(CNN) — Extreme drought and inflationary pressures are forcing U.S. farmers in Western states to sell off their cattle herds in greater numbers, at levels not seen in over a decade.

Nearly 80% of the western region of the U.S. is experiencing extreme drought conditions — and has been for nearly a year, according to the America Farm Bureau Federation. But the most recent week-long heatwave, impacting nearly 80 million people across the country, has brought things to a boiling point for farmers and ranchers.

Temperatures in Texas have remained around 100 degrees for weeks, depleting water and burning grass — both critical to feeding and maintaining cow herds. Some ranchers’ say their only option is to sell.

“We haven’t had this kind of movement of cows to market in a decade, since 2011, which was our last really big drought,” said David Anderson, a professor of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M.

Last year, severe drought in the West forced 40% of farmers to sell off part of their herds, according to an AFBF survey. Now, inflationary costs for things like feed, fertilizer, and fuel are only making the situation worse. Many cows are headed to auction.

The small sale barn in Elk City, Oklahoma which services four small counties normally sees 200-300 cows on sale day. Last week they saw 1,000, according to Monte Tucker, a state board member of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.

Tucker, a fifth-generation cattle rancher himself says he’s holding out selling his cows until there is no more grass for them to eat. He’s supplementing his herd’s food with seed — but it’s proving to be very expensive.

“It’s twice as high as it was two years ago. We were buying that feed for $200 a ton and today it’s $400 plus. So, feed’s doubled — that’s another crunch,” said Tucker.

While ranchers are reluctant sellers, they are at least getting a good price at market, according to Anderson. That could eventually mean lower prices for consumers. The price of ground beef for American consumers in June was up 9.7% over the last year.

But the concern is prices in the future. With smaller herds and fewer breeding cows, the next two years could spell higher beef prices for consumers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, is projecting a 7% decline in beef production next year.

Farmers and ranchers may be eligible for financial assistance through the USDA’s Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish program. The program covers additional costs ranchers may incur to haul water or move livestock to better grazing pastures.

There is one caveat: Ranchers must live in a county with a severe drought ranking level for an extended period of time, as measured by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

In Missouri, Governor Mike Parson signed an executive order Thursday offering aide to 53 counties in his state affected by extreme drought.

“I know on my farm that conditions have deteriorated quickly, and we are hearing the same reports from countless other farm and ranch families across the state,” Governor Parson said in a press release.

The order directs the departments of the Natural Resources and Conservation to allow farmers access to water at state parks and other conservation areas. Additionally, Parsons directed the Missouri Department of Transportation to wave fees and restrictions on farmers and ranchers hauling hay.


The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

...
Associated Press

Ex-employee shut down Massachusetts police website over pay dispute, city says

Officials in a Boston suburb are investigating a former city employee who might have shut down the police website during a pay dispute.
16 hours ago
Nescopeck Volunteer Fire Company firefighter Harold Baker is comforted at the scene in Berwick, Pa....
Associated Press

1 dead, 17 hurt in crash during fundraiser for fire victims

One person was killed and another 17 people injured when a vehicle struck a crowd gathered at a Pennsylvania bar for a fundraiser for victims of a house fire that killed 10 earlier this month; the man police say was the driver was arrested shortly afterward in the beating death of his mother nearby.
16 hours ago
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21:  The U.S. Capitol Dome is lit in the evening. (Photo by Chip Somodevil...
Associated Press

Police: Man killed himself after ramming US Capitol barrier

A man drove his car into a barricade near the U.S. Capitol early Sunday and then began firing gunshots in the air before fatally shooting himself, police said.
16 hours ago
FILE: A Delta Air Lines plane. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)...
Meron Moges-Gerbi, CNN

Former flight attendant sues Delta Air Lines after firing her for sharing anti-Trump editorial cartoon

An employment discrimination lawsuit filed by a former Delta Air Lines flight attendant says she was fired for posting an image of former President Donald Trump wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood on her personal Facebook page.
2 days ago
...
BOB CHRISTIE, Associated Press

Arizona parents arrested trying to get to locked-down school

Three Arizona parents have been arrested after trying to force their way onto an elementary school campus to protect their children during a lockdown.
2 days ago
(Courtesy: Rick Haley)...
Zoe Sottile, CNN

Missing Missouri dog was finally found, 500 feet underground in an intricate cave system

Two cave explorers found a dog who had been missing for about two months in a cave system in Missouri.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Farmers forced to sell their cows as drought conditions worsen across US