Climate Change-Enhanced Drought Clobbering US Ranching

The persistence of the drought in Texas has forced ranchers to use all the creative techniques they can muster to survive, reports Stephanie Strom at the New York Times. For some, it has meant knowing as much about land management and grass as they know about the bloodlines of their herds. For others, it is knowing the right moment to sell calves or to gamble on something called “rain insurance.” The cattle herd nationwide is at its lowest level in 60 years, and that is most apparent in Texas, the  largest cattle-producing state. The Texas inventory of cattle and calves was 11.3 million on Jan. 1, a decline of 5 percent from 2012 and the lowest level since 1967, says the Agriculture Department. The state’s beef cattle inventory fell even more to 4 million, down 12 percent from 2012, when similarly precipitous declines occurred. The sharp contraction, brought on by two years of Texan drought, followed by a year of the Great Plains drought that drove feed prices sky high, has left some wondering if the state will ever again have herds as large as it once boasted.

Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here: http://signon.org/sign/we-are-the-clean-99?source=c.em.cp&r_by=487176 . This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is in 2 years!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.

 

For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/index.php?author=mary-ellen-harte

 

Source

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/06/business/a-long-drought-tests-texas-cattle-ranchers-patience-and-creativity.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130406&_r=0

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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