Billy Easter is the owner of Wichita Livestock Sales Co., a place where ranchers from all over come to buy and sell livestock in a live auction. Billy says that this year has been unique from years past as ranchers are working to move forward from the greatest drought in Texas.
Billy says,"Everybody is in a different position. Everybody gets up everyday and gets their pencil and calculator and figures out where they are at and what they are going to do and looks for an opportunity to make money."
Making money is always a goal for businesses like ranches, but after a year like this one, making money is a necessity. According to the Texas AgriLife Extension, the drought has cost the state a total of $5.2 billion in crops and livestock and these ranchers have felt every last dollar.
"The cost of production, the risk, the amount of money it takes to do all these things is greater and greater and sometimes it's overwhelming for some of these guys," says Billy.
Besides coming back from a financially tough season, one of the greatest challenges ranchers now face is getting their cattle through the fall and winter with an extremely limited amount of hay due to little to no summer grass crop. Still Billy says they are looking at the positive side of things.
"Once the rains come the cattle market is good, the beef demand is good, exports are good. Everything is in our favor," Billy says, but as for now "everybody's got their little thinking caps on trying to do business and that's what it's all about."