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Ranchers Say Cattle Outlook Good for 2013

Local ranchers and cattle raisers are optimistic about their line of work this year despite worsening drought conditions.  Those positive feelings come on the coat tails of the US Department of Agriculture's predictions of strong growth in livestock production in the next 10 years.
    Tuesday's rainfall comes at a good time for farmers and ranchers and the market is looking pretty good right now.
    Certainly better than last year, at least.
    Billy Easter, owner of Wichita Livestock, says, "The market has been real good.  It's been good on packer cows, that was strong.  The stock cow market has been good today.  So everything looks pretty optimistic."
    Laco Hernandez, an Oklahoma ranch owner, says, "The ground will get saturated with moisture again and the grass will come up."
    "It was pretty critical to get some rain and get this green started and give this wheat a drink.  It will carry us on into the spring," Easter says.
    Cattle raisers are getting good prices for their livestock because the supply is low, but that's going to affect the price you pay for beef at the grocery store.
    "They're telling us the supplies are getting tighter and tighter into the spring.  We're kind of expecting it to go up.  It's going to have to go up somewhat later on in the spring and summer," Easter says.
    The US Department of Agriculture expects beef consumption to drop because of higher prices, but with that said, the agency expects net farm incomes to reach a record this year because of high crop and cattle prices.
    Of course, Easter says Texoma needs more rain to ensure this will be a good year for cattle production.
    Some more good news for cattle raisers who've been paying high feed prices because of the drought: corn prices are expected to drop below $5 per bushel in the next two years, so that will help with feed prices.
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