South Dakota ranchers still dealing with drought and cattle numbers

The cattle market is improving but beef prices might not.
Published: Mar. 19, 2023 at 11:02 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - South Dakota ranchers are still dealing with the effects of a nationwide drought that started more than two years ago.

Range and pasture conditions deteriorate during droughts, forcing producers to cut their herds because of a shortage of feed. According to the president of the Cattlemen’s Association, Eric Jennings, producers haven’t had a lot of feed for cattle so they had to purchase more to replace what producers usually would have, which takes up additional revenue and time.

Even when the current drought ends, it will take time for ranchers to rebuild healthy herds.

”We’ll continue to get a smaller herd for a couple of years here. It’s going to take a while to rebuild because of so much of the nation is under drought. And the economy doesn’t necessarily support going out there and rebuilding the herd very quickly,” Jennings said.

The cattle producers are looking forward to seeing an increase on better prices in the future once the drought ends.