Recent rains are too little too late for ranchers

Jul 21, 2014

Credit winterlivestock.com

Many Colorado cattle ranchers are beginning to recover from the drought, but for many the rain is too little and too late.

John Campbell is the president of the Winter Livestock in La Junta.  He says ranchers have already sold off herds they couldn’t afford to feed in a conversation with Colorado Public Radio

“It’s kind of the best of times, the worst of times,” Campbell says.

Ranchers harvested some sweet profits, but it will take time to rebuild herds.

When you sell off the factory, for lack of a better example, then you have nothing to produce any natural increase next year. -John Campbell, President, Winter Livestock

Serious drought conditions remain in southeastern Colorado, portions of Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and California.

Campbell says those dry conditions are what's driving cattle ranchers to sell and, in turn, beef prices to rise. USDA “all-fresh” beef has risen to $5.50 a pound, up from about $4.75 two years ago. And choice beef is significantly more pricey since 2012, now selling at close to $6 a pound.

For the rest of the story, and to hear the conversation with Ryan Warner during Colorado Matters, head on over to Colorado Public Radio.