Looking Drought in the Eye – Working Together to Get Through the Next One

The week that I got married, the drought of 2011 finally broke. I will never forget the Justice of the peace saying to everybody gathered, in his gravelly voice, “Now that Will and Laura are married, maybe the good lord will water the earth a little.” Sure enough, within a couple of days the first good drenching rain in three or four months poured out of the sky like champagne. I don’t think our marriage had anything to do with it, but it still felt like a benediction. We survived that drought. Many cattle raisers did not. If you were heavy stocked and you had to feed hay then the bills mounted. Some got lucky with a patch of rain here and there. Others had to haul their cows to the sale barn, and so many people doing the same thing drove prices off a cliff. We observed that our cattle (crossbred with brahman influence) turned to eating yaupon and that their natural hardiness helped them survive the “dry spell.” All in all, there was something unrelenting about it, like it was never going to let go, like everything was in danger of shriveling up, cracking, and blowing away in the wind. In my last article, I mentioned one way producers and landowners could get together and form organizations that grazed cattle on land jointly. I wanted to expand on this idea and cover my thinking on why it could be an important and necessary insurance p

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2 thoughts on “Looking Drought in the Eye – Working Together to Get Through the Next One

  1. Will How do you feel about incorporating goats to eat the brush species that come in. A good boundary fence with 8000 volts kept out bobcats, coyotes and dogs in my experience. There is mixed research on letting goats roam but rotationally grazing cattle. I grew up on Coleman, TX and worked in lots of the state before moving to Iowa. Back home in 2015.

    My e-mail is jess.jackson@wdc.usda.gov I work for NRCS

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