NM cattle herd in decline for third straight year

February 1, 2013 • State News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The number of cattle in New Mexico has dropped for the third straight year as ranchers around the state have been forced to sell off their herds as they grapple with a persistent [auth] drought.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Friday that New Mexico’s cattle inventory has dipped to 1.3 million head. That’s down 4 percent from the previous year and marks the lowest inventory since 1991.

The number of beef cows in New Mexico has also hit a record low of 390,000 for the second year in a row.

The executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, Caren Cowan, says the lack of rain and feed, the high cost of hay and rising transportation costs have put ranchers in a bad place.

She says they’re praying for rain and looking for a silver lining.

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