East Texas Longhorn Association members face challenging drought conditions

Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 1:31 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 30, 2022 at 11:21 PM CDT

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The drought experienced across Texas has been devastating to those in the cattle industry.

Cattlemen at the East Texas State Fair described their experiences.

“It’s been a rough year to be in the cattle business.”

Secretary Treasurer of the East Texas Longhorn Association Lana Hightower was showing two Texas Longhorns named G and L Tomahawk and G and L Apache Pass. She said this year’s drought made the cost of feed skyrocket.

“Well, you figure about four rolls of hay per year per cow, and last year I could buy $55 a roll; this year it’s $125 a roll, if you can find it,” said Hightower.

Hightower said the hay, which once was purchased locally, is now being shipped in from out of state. She says the scarcity has made it difficult to know how much hay to stock for winter.

She runs about forty head of registered Texas longhorns and was forced to sell five of her older cattle due to the rising costs of care.

“Longhorns can live up into their twenties, produce into their twenties, so I picked the seventeen, eighteen, nineteen year-olds and let them go, restarting with the younger ones.”

She said everyone has been selling their cattle, which has affected the market.

Longhorns are the largest breed represented at the East Texas State Fair. She said these challenges have affected the number of entries this year.

“We’ll have between 300 and 400 entries, including our youth show, our trophy steers, and this year, we’ve got about 150.”

Despite the challenges, she pushes forward to help make a difference.

“I’m here because I want to support the youth and get our kids involved,” said Hightower. “If you’re involved with livestock, taking care of them and everything, you’re not on the streets, and that’s what we’re all about.”

The livestock shows start at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning at the East Texas State Fair, leading with the Youth Texas Longhorn Show.

The East Texas Longhorn Association is out at the livestock barn at the East Texas State Fair.