Extreme Heat Drying Up Pastures, Forcing Ranchers Across Texas to Sell Livestock

Ranchers are selling livestock off because many are unable to afford high hay costs, which cattle feed on

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Cattle ranching runs through Jarrod Montford’s veins several generations over. Yet lately, the Bridgeport rancher is one of thousands statewide who've had to sell his cattle due to the high costs to keep them fed.

“It’s gonna hurt and it’s gonna hurt bad,” Montford said. “It’s a strain. And sometimes you have to sell some cattle to keep a few." 

He’s sold seven or eight of his livestock and has plans to sell more. 

Last Monday, over 3,000 head of livestock were sold at the Decatur Livestock Market. 

The shade under a tree offered Montford's herd some relief from the scorching sun.

He uses rotational grazing - rotating his herd through the pasture to allow other grassy spots to grow back. If rain doesn’t pour in to break the drought, it could break the bank as more ranchers are forced to dip into their winter reserve. 

“We have producers like our neighbors who are already feeding hay. If they’re already feeding hay now, it’s a long time to frost and it’s going to really hurt their pocketbooks if they’re feeding hay currently,” said Montford. 

It’s a problem affecting cattle ranchers feeding much of the nation. 

“1.6, 1.7% of the population feeds the rest. It’s not how bad are we at the end of the day," Monfort said. "It’s the fact that if we don’t survive, our nation fails,” said Montford. 

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