A growing number of Texas ranchers and farmers are trimming their livestock, or selling them altogether, as the persistent drought has eliminated water supplies and forage for the animals.
The U.S. Drought Monitor shows that 45 percent of Texas is contending with drought conditions that are severe or worse. Ranchers describe land bare of grass, bales of hay either too expensive or hard to come by, and stock tanks that have long run dry.
Josh Blanek, with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Tom Green County, says ranchers and farmers in his region are reducing their herds by at least 25 percent.
Oklahoma officials, meanwhile, say they haven't seen the kind of liquidation of cattle that's happening in Texas. Spring rains saved some wheat harvests and boosted grassland there.