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Local ranchers see minimal losses from storm

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Amarillo, TX - After Monday's storm dumped up to a foot and a half of snow on the Texas panhandle, we're all dealing with the aftermath.  And for farmers and ranchers, the aftermath means lost crops and lost livestock.

West Texas is known for extreme weather, and perhaps no one feels its impact more deeply than farmers and ranchers.  So when blizzards like yesterday's roll in, ranchers do all they can to keep their herd alive - but you can't save them all.

When severe weather rolls around, ranchers can expect to see some losses, and Jim Bret of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association says most in our area were bracing for impact as early as Friday.

"Many of our feedyard managers were bringing in extra crews, they were already planning on spending the night at the feedyard Sunday night," said Bret.  "Many of them spent the night there last night as well."

But in spite of yesterday's record-setting storm, both the cattle feeders association and local ranchers tell me their herds are in good shape.

"Our losses have been minimal," said Bob Lindsey, a Canyon-based rancher.  "We're right in the middle of calving right now, and I saw a lot of calves when we were feeding just a while ago, and that was very encouraging.  We've melted a lot of snow today. I imagine we'll only have to feed maybe one more day. But it sure came all at once."

The TCFA tells me it's far too early to quantify any losses, but they don't expect them to be significant.  But after enduring a punishing drought for the last two years, the U.S. herd is already at its lowest level since the 1950s, so any losses would be deeply felt.

Texas is by far the leading beef producer in the nation, accounting for more than 14 percent of the national herd.

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