Rebuilding the Herd

Texoma pastures are starting to fill up once again with cattle.  The fields have been bare since the summer when ranchers were forced to sell herds because they just couldn't take care of the cattle without rain.

Now, rain has been pouring in Texoma and it's giving ranchers the opportunity to rebuild.

Most of the Wichita Livestock cattle sales this past summer were to ranchers out of state, but now Billy Easter, the owner of Wichita Livestock Sales says more and more Texoma buyers are back.  They are working to rebuild what the drought took from them.

Easter said,"Some people had to sell off everything, they ran out of water."

This summer was a difficult one for Texoma ranchers.  Many of them felt forced to sell most, if not all of their cattle.

"They kind of had a little set back there and it cost people money and it cost a lot of money, that drought did," Easter said.

Now things are changing.

He said,"Since October when it finally started raining, we've had just as mild a winter as we had a harsh summer."

That means more grass and better grazing for cattle.

Easter is also a rancher.  He says more and more Texomans are regaining confidence to buy again.

"People are optimistic about restocking and really since the first of the year our market has all been local," he said.

That's a big change from this summer, when most sales were made to ranchers out of state.  Now Easter says there are almost no out of towners at his auctions.

"All the buying participation here is local.  Within a 100-150 miles around here."

However, there is a drawback.

"They are buying back at higher prices and that's the downside that cost of production is higher."  Easter says it has not bee uncommon for a calf to go for as much as $1,000.

Still, even with high prices, Easter and others are optimistic about the future.

"We have the possibility of bringing in more income with these higher priced cattle," he said. "It looks like we can have the possibility of making it back."

The Wichita Livestock Sales Co. has a big sale coming up on April 21.  Easter said sellers will be from Texoma and will be offering some of the best cattle.

Wichita Livestock Sales Co. is located on Highway 281 just south of Wichita Falls.

Taelor Rian, Newschannel 6.