The severe drought of the past three years resulted in record-low cattle counts and record-high beef prices. “(Prices) are going up, and it’s just a supply and demand issue,” said Caren Cowan of the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association.
Abundant monsoon rainfall means ranchers are starting to reconsider their downsizing. “There’s definitely short-term relief, and people to my knowledge have pretty much stopped culling,” Cowan said.
Culling, or trimming, the heard was widespread because prairie grass is the primary food source, and cattle starve when there isn't
Breeding them back takes several years, and buying cattle is very difficult right now because they’re expensive and in short supply. With all the challenges facing the nation’s second oldest group of farmers and ranchers, many are worried New Mexico’s cowboy way of life could be dying out.
“It makes it even more difficult for young people to try to get into the business,” Cowan said. More