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Local Ranchers Hope for a Better 2012

The recent wet weather in Texoma has local ranchers hoping for a better year than 2011, One of the worst ever for producers. Last year's drought forced many ranchers to sell off much of their herds, but now the weather and cattle prices are breeding a little bit of cautious optimism among ranchers.
After last year's extreme drought and 100 days of 100 degree temperatures, it doesn't take much for cattlemen to look forward to 2012.

"Cattle are staying in good shape, the wheat pasture is coming on good, cattle had good gains through the winter," said Billy Easter of Wichita Livestock Sales Co., "so it's been real easy on us considering what it could be."

As stock tanks dried up and ranchers couldn't afford to feed their cattle last year, many sold off a large number of their herds.

Now, that shortage in supply is leading to an increase in demand.

"As supplies get shorter," explained Easter, "cattle prices continue to climb to levels over what was predicted."

"Everything is telling us we have some time where the cattle market is going to be good," said Fred Hall, Wichita County Agrilife Extension Agent, "and getting those heifers out there and bred is the best thing we can do right now."

But before some ranchers can replenish their herds, experts say Texoma still needs more water.

"We're still behind the trend line as far as total inches that we are supposed to have, and what we traditionally have," said Hall, "and that tells us we're still kind of on that thin line. We need these rains to keep going."

So while ranchers and farmers aren't out of the woods just yet, most are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead.

"We're still wondering what our summer is going to hold," said Easter, "we still have to grow some summer forage, and that's just yet to be seen."

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