Dry Conditions Dampen Cattle Rancher's Spirits

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

Last month could go down as one of the dryest June's on recent record. Leaving some local farmers and ranchers trying to hold on for damper days.

One local cattle rancher says the business is harder than ever right now.

"We just haven't been that lucky,"Rancher Sammy Catalena said.

You've heard the saying the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but just about a mile down the road from Catalena's Kurten ranch, it really is.

"He called me when it was raining, a friend of mine down the road, and said I guess you're getting this rain. 'I said what rain?'. And before it was over, he got about three inches and we didn't get any," Catalena said.

The dry conditions are enough to not only singe each blade of grass, but the well is also running dry for drinking water for more than three hundred cattle.

"If the dry weather continues, it'll be a matter of time we'll have to start moving some livestock around again," Catalena said.

Combine that with staggering prices of the three F's: feed, fuel, and fertilizer, and the lack of rain is just one more problem for ranchers.

"In the past when these kind if things happened you could always see a little light at the end of the tunnel and think maybe we're going to get there and it's going to be ok," Catalena said. "But at this point we don't see any light at the end of the tunnel."

Without seeing an end in sight, Catalena says he's been cutting back wherever he can. For example, this year he's already only been able to use a fraction of the amount of fertilizer he used last year. That's because he says without the guarantee of rain he just can't afford it.

But despite all the setbacks for ranchers this year, Catalena says he's in it for the long haul.

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