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Drought Still Plaguing Ranchers

The drought has increased the cost of hay and other supplements needed to raise cattle, forcing many ranchers to sell all or portions of their herd.

Recent rainfall is moving some areas of Texas out of drought conditions.

Last week, the Dallas/Fort Worth region was the state's first major metropolitan area to emerge from the drought since July. But, the rainfall has still not accumulated enough to make significant changes in other areas.

The East Texas area has improved slightly. According to the National Weather Service, East Texas was in the exceptional, or D-4 drought stage. Now, it has dropped to an extreme drought, or D-3 condition. Even so, agriculture officials say ranchers and farmers are still struggling.

"They're forecasting another dry year, and this is going to be a long term deal; this is going to take years to recoup from this," says Randy Reeves, Harrison County AgriLife Extension agent. "Our herd sizes are really down. So a lot of these guys are going to be in a rebuilding mode to get back to where they were last year. It's going to be expensive to replace these cattle that were sold."

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