A hopeful spring for cattle ranchers

Newly-born calves rest in the calving barn at Kelsay and Son dairy farm on July 20, 2012 near Whiteland, Ind.

Last year, the Midwest faced a historic drought, one that was especially damaging to farmers and ranchers who waited for rain that would not come. This year, the Midwest has been hit again by extreme weather but instead of drought, it's massive flooding.

We check in from time to time with a rancher in Rolla, Mo., by the name of Ken Lenox. Today, he says, the sun is shining but it was overcast and drizzling earlier. But the best news? "The grass is just doing fantastic."

Lenox detailed the economic damage the drought did to his ranching operation when we talked to him last year. His region has gotten a lot of rain recently but he says he prefers the rain to the drought. "Both of them bring problems but I'd rather have the too much over not enough."

And the cows -- they're doing well. "The calves that I'm going to sell in the first part of June", he says, "they're putting on probably three pounds a day right now. You can practically see them growing."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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