Even though it feels like spring in Texoma, it is technically still winter until March 20th. Texoma's warm winter is causing slow business, and sales for cold weather merchandise is down significantly.
Temperatures are up and the sun shinning across Texoma. Winter items that are typically sold during winter are just not selling. David Singleton, Owner of Vernon's Red River Ranch Supply, said, "Starting fluids and deicers have been sold early in the year, just on speculation that cold weather would arrive." Cold weather never did arrive and Singleton said some of his merchandise is down by 50%. "Given the mild winter, we haven't had the nutritional demands to fully supplement cattle as much that is common in this region."
With a warmer winter cattle do not need as much mineral supplementation as they usually do. Singleton said another factor is cattle herd numbers are down. The drought forced many ranchers to sell their cattle, so they are not buying as much feed. Singleton commented, "Of course I need the sales if I can get them, but I'm also glad they are able to hang in there. If it rains that's just inventory for me to sell further on."
Looking to the future, Red River Ranch Supply has diversified its business incorporating custom fabrication, welding, and truck accessories. Singleton said, "A stand alone feed store is a difficult proposition, even in the best of times and the best of markets. We've always been diversified."
Buying habits are changing for Texoma ranchers. Singleton said before the drought many would buy product in bulk, but now that they have smaller herds they are only buying product as they need it.