In this file:
· Drought and wildfires cause Nebraska ranchers to sell their herds
· Farmers affected by wildfires navigating new uncertainties as rebuilding continues
Drought and wildfires cause Nebraska ranchers to sell their herds
Cattle feed has been difficult to find
Arianna Martinez, KLKN-TV
May 5, 2022
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Even with recent precipitation, Nebraska remains in a drought, causing cattlemen to make some tough choices about their herds.
Ranchers in Nebraska and nationwide are selling off cattle because the drought and recent wildfires are making feed difficult to find, according to Mel Benjamin, vice president of policy engagement for the Nebraska Cattlemen Association.
“Liquidation happens when you just don’t have the feed for them,” she said. “As cattle people, our No. 1 priority is taking care of those cattle, making sure their nutrition is good. Our No. 2 priority is taking care of the land. So it can’t suffer a lot of overgrazing during a drought and bounce back like we need it to be.”
Ranchers have two other options if they don’t want to liquidate, Benjamin said: Putting the cattle in “a feedlot situation” or moving them to another state.
But with high diesel and grain prices, those would be very costly options.
Normally, liquidating your herd means taking a big loss, but experts predict that won’t be the case right now.
Benjamin said the price for cattle is “holding pretty strongly.”
“You’re still going to take a loss on a breeding animal, but they are stronger than typical,” she said.
The United States typically imports lean beef from overseas, but because of the mass liquidation, grocery shelves will be stocked up with U.S. ground beef.
Benjamin said that’s one reason the price for cattle is holding steady...
Farmers affected by wildfires navigating new uncertainties as rebuilding continues
By Kellan Heavican, Brownfield
May 6, 2022
Farmers and ranchers affected by drought and wildfires are uncertain what’s next for their operation.
Southwest Nebraska rancher Delaine Soucie tells Brownfield he’s prioritizing his cattle over spring planting. “We’re fighting calves dying from smoke inhalation and pneumonia and hopefully we’re going to mass treat 88 pair and hopefully we keep them from dying.”
Farmer Jan TenBensel says he’s been worried about the cost and availability of cover-crop seed. “I started calling immediately. Some guys still aren’t sure what to do. I knew we had to get some cover on that bare ground right away. We ordered seed within days of the fire, while the fire was still burning actually.”
Ten Bensel tells Brownfield he has most his cropland sewed to oats and says oat supplies are ok because some farmers in North and South Dakota have been unable to plant it because of excess moisture.
Tyler Ruf says his crop management plan keeps changing...