Ranchers Selling Stock From Drought - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/3/06-Longview

Ranchers Selling Stock From Drought

  A disastrous winter drought and a  summer drought has small ranchers in east Texas on the verge of going under. Some are even being forced to sell their cattle and horses just to avoid the higher costs of feeding them.
  "Well it's a long time until April if you've got to buy hay , if you got to buy hay and feed them from now until April you just as well to get out, it's real bad, it's just no hay, feeds high, cattle's cheap; it's kind of out of balance" said lifelong rancher Henry Wilson.
  At the Longview auction barn, Thursday, sellers outnumbered buyers. Dozens of area ranchers brought in their stock for bid. Taking reduced prices to offset losses. For ranchers it hasn't reached critical stage yet but without any rain in the future they're wondering whether they'll survive. Blistering heat has killed grazing land. They're forced to order hay from Kansas or Oklahoma. And that is very expensive. Many have seen their fellow ranchers sell, and get out for good.
  "It's having a lot of effect , there's no hay, no grass; they're having to sell some cows they're not wanting to" said auctioneer Ronny Buchanan.
  Irene Beatty's family has been ranching for generations. They can no longer keep large herds because of costs.
  "The gasoline; it's just unreal everything has gone up, I have 25 mothers right now with my calves and I'm fixing to have to have to get rid of most of my calves and a few of the mothers" said Beatty.
  For small, family run ranches, a continuing drought, could spell the end. A couple of ranchers we talked with today say if they don't get significant rain in August, they will think seriously about closing down operations for good.

Reported Bob Hallmark,  bhallmark@kltv.com .

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