Midland County First to See Cattle-Saving Sessions

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - 660,000 cattle were lost to last year's drought as ranchers were forced to sell them.

With no rain, farmers had no grasses to feed them.

Starting April 3rd in Midland County, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service will take their message on the road to ranchers, trying to rebuild the Texas cattle herds.

"Anybody that went through last year's drought that raised cattle's got to be gun-shy this year," Midland County AgriLife Extension Service Agent, Zan Matthies, said. "It's looking a little bit better than it did last year. I would say it's looking a lot better but is it going to continue?"

The price of a single cow is still going up.

Officials said these sessions will help guide ranchers back into the industry, covering everything from finding a lender to finding vaccinations for their cows.

"How's your infrastructure and everything? Are you a stocker operator? Are you a cow-calf operator?" Matthies said. "Where are you going to make your best decision and how are you going to buy your replacements? Are you willing to gamble on what our weather's going to be like?"

For cattle ranchers in West Texas, they said the rains have been good for them so far this year but they're going to need to see more before they think about adding more cows.

"It's certainly too soon to be thinking about re-stocking in this part of the state but it's not too soon to be thinking about what we're going to do if it ever does rain again," Ector County Cattle Rancher, Bill White, said.

Some ranchers said they'll need to see more rain before re-investing in a herd.

"I've sold maybe two-thirds of my cows. I've got about a third left," White said.

Still, officials said these sessions will get the conversation going, a conversation that could resurrect cow herds and the business they bring.

The upcoming April 3rd session will be held at the Midland County AgriLife Extension Office at 2445 E. Highway 80 from 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m.

It costs $40 to pre-register and $50 at the door.

To pre-register, call (432) 686-4700.