Last week, Thomas Hinds delivered more than a dozen calves to an auction house in San Angelo, some 350 miles northeast of his ranch in Sanderson. Less than an inch of rain has fallen on his land since last September, and the drought has made it hard to find find hay, said Hinds, who estimated that the price of feed has also risen by a third since last year.
“A lot of people our age are just quitting because feed is so high and labor is so hard to get,” said Hinds, who was a boy during the prolonged drought of the 1950s that is still considered the worst in Texas history.
The current drought is now considered the third-worst ever experienced in Texas, and it has taken a toll on cattle ranchers in the country’s largest beef-producing state, with over five million head.
Charley Christensen, general manager of the Producers Livestock Auction in San Angelo, said that the cattle pens at his auction house are more than twice as full as they were this time last year