As Drought Spreads Across Texas, Ranchers Are Forced to Liquidate Their Stock

The Extinction Chronicles

One Panhandle ranch manager is liquidating 90 percent of his cattle, because there’s not enough grass to support them.

More than 40 percent of Texas is in some stage of drought right now, according to the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Some parts of the state are especially dry, like the Panhandle and the plains south of the area. That has caused some farmers and ranchers to face difficult choices – like what to do with cattle when there’s not enough grass to graze.

Quentin Gass is the ranch manager of Driver Land and Cattle in Glasscock County, about thirty miles east of Midland. He manages over 100,000 acres of land and about 2,000 cows.

“We’re just fortunate enough we’re scattered across five counties,” he says. “Our…

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5 thoughts on “As Drought Spreads Across Texas, Ranchers Are Forced to Liquidate Their Stock

  1. Terrible. The ranchers have no one to blame but themselves – and I hope they won’t get even more government handouts. Raising cattle in drought prone-landscapes is trying to bend nature to their will, and this kind of thing is predictable. Killing off thousands of native wildlife such as rabbits is appalling, who are also entitled to live on the lands they were born on.

    On the hopeful side, maybe one drought too many will eventually force them out of business, when Mother Nature wins.

  2. The ranchers, that is, and not the poor victimized livestock. I don’t eat beef or lamb, so I have absolutely no interest in their product. And these are the so-called public lands, which belong to the nation, and are not the ranchers’ sole dominion, although you’d hardly know it.

    I’m sure we’ve all re- and re-read the story of Dr. Weilgus vs. The Diamond M, the latest in the NYT, recently. The taxpayers and others deserve better consideration.

  3. One must wonder how many coyotes the ranchers have killed off. And cougars, let’s not forget cougars. In fact, we could surmise that to make Texas safe for cows, the ranchers have created a trophic cascade by killing off different trophic levels, starting at the top regulatory level, and working their way down, each time releasing more of the next level’s dominant species. Ooops, now they’re left with primary-production consumers (rabbits) that compete with their cows for plant production. Oh dear, if only they had some coyotes or foxes to eat the rabbits, and a few cougars to control the coyote population.

    • Yes. Wasn’t that terrible – I could only read so far, because it reminded me of those bunny bludgeoning family activities from the 1930s Dustbowl – another situation created by people, and we seem to be headed back that way, we haven’t learned from it. Just like a George Romero horror film.

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