Texas ranchers struggling amid drought

March 18, 2009 at 11:36 AM

JOHNSON CITY, Texas, March 18 (UPI) -- The drought gripping Texas and other parts of the southwest United States has left the state's cattle country facing severe hardships, ranchers say.

Ned Butler of Mason County, Texas, said he is among those ranchers who have been forced to sell off parts of herds due to the drought's decimation of grass used in cattle grazing, USA Today reported Wednesday.

"We've been praying and praying and praying," Butler said. "But there's just not any grass out there."

"If we don't have rain in 60 days, we're going to have to sell some more," said rancher Len Wineheimer, who has already sold nearly 200 cows from his Stonewall, Texas, ranch.

Meteorologists estimate that the first two months of 2009 marked the driest beginning to a year in more than 100 years of recordkeeping in the United States.

USA Today said the dry start to 2009 only intensified the plight of the Texas ranchers, who have been without significant rainfall for 18 months.

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