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No Feed! Ranchers Face Drought Disaster

No Feed! Ranchers Face Drought Disaster
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Ranchers on both sides of the 49th parallel are telling similar stories. In 2011 Fred Verch of Eganville, Ontario, spent $4,000 on hay because his fields were lush. He told CBC he has already had to spend $80,000 this year. His fields are so dry he knows there will be no second cut.

On the south side of the border, Kansas rancher Ken Grecian told the Associated Press a similar story. By the third week of July he had sold off 40 of his 300 cow-calf pairs and expects to sell more, though he knows rebuilding his herd will take years.

Grasslands are burning. Livestock are suffering from the heat. Feed prices are rising. Auction prices are dropping. The forecast is for dry, hot weather right through the growing season. Ranchers watching their fields burn know they will have no feed come winter.

Drought By the Numbers

In two Care2 posts in July, bloggers quantified the issues facing the livestock industry. Jeff Fecke detailed the extent of the drought in the U.S.:

The United States is in its worst drought since 1956, according to a report by the National Climatic Data Center. A full third of the country was suffering from severe to extreme short-term drought, up from 23 percent in May. Overall, 56 percent of the country is in drought conditions, including much of the Plains and Midwest.

Kristina Chew tallied the impact of a reduced corn crop on the price of eggs, dairy and meat:

The price of a bushel a corn is now $8, up 50 percent from where it was last year, as 88 percent of the corn crop has been affected by the drought. Poultry prices are expected to rise immediately (3.5 to 4.5 percent by later this year) due to the rising price of corn feed. Egg prices are also expected to rise (as much as 4 percent) and those for milk, pork and beef to follow next year. Dairy products are to increase 3.5 to 4.5 percent, pork 2.5 to 3.5 percent and beef, 4 to 5 percent.

Next: Government Responses Only Stopgap

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164 comments

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9:36PM PST on Feb 28, 2013

Great comments, Heather. The human addiction to animal flesh is destroying the planet, cruelty to animals, and utimately affecting our health. In the West, we see our forests, water, soil, grasslands decimated by the Livestock Industry, which also demands that wolves, coyotes & other wildlife be slaughtered by the millions every year--at taxpayer expense.
Crops that have been grown in the midwest and the west, are largely produced for livestock feed, which is a terrible waste of soil and water. Now, the drought-ridden soil is becoming useless. Large semi trucks by the hundreds are taking hay to ranchers for feeding livestock, again much of this, a government subsidy. The ecosystem is dying. Ranchers need to go, particularly those who get subsidies to graze livestock on Wilderness, National Forests, BLM lands, and even Wildlife Refuges--Public Lands which wildlife needs to survive.
If we want to save Nature and her native wildlife, Public Lands Ranchers need to get off our Public Lands Now.

9:00AM PST on Feb 7, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

1:10PM PST on Dec 23, 2012

Interesting.

9:45AM PDT on Oct 11, 2012

This is a sad commentary on the climate and disaster that we are facing.

9:40AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

*has had a direct effect*

9:39AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

Barbra D., I highly doubt anyone can judge where or how another person lives based on their comments unless they explicitly state those facts, or whether they are adept at any particular field. We're at a general consensus that the world is in trouble. That statement only requires a look outside. I do happen to live in a rural area, have almost always lived in rural areas, and have had a garden for several years. I, for one, am more than aware that as things heat local fauna wither. And I have done a fair bit of studying. Your diet does have an affect on the planet, and on the survival of the human race. We could prevent, reverse, or even cure over 69 diseases just by strictly limiting or ending our consumption of animal products. In any case what I eat has made a direct affect on MY life. In fact, I'm sure that it has returned time that my previous diet would have squandered. The state of the world is not under debate, and the facts have been clearly presented. I would wager that none of us would even be on this article if we didn't have even the most rudimentary understanding. The thing I don't get is why people get so defensive about their dietary habits simply because I stated mine.

5:54AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

If you want a full picture of how food ends up on your plate, watch the documentary 'Food Inc.' http://www.takepart.com/foodinc. We should all be aware of where our food comes from and how the system is run.

5:53AM PDT on Aug 25, 2012

This is very sad:(

2:18AM PDT on Aug 25, 2012

Thanks for sharing!

3:58PM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

This is what happen when greedy man takes, and takes and takes and never gives back.

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