A farmer feeds corn to his cattle on July 16, 2012 near Ashley, Illinois. Many farmers in the Midwest have been selling off their cattle because of the lack of available feed in the drought-stricken region.
A farmer feeds corn to his cattle on July 16, 2012 near Ashley, Illinois. Many farmers in the Midwest have been selling off their cattle because of the lack of available feed in the drought-stricken region. - 
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Cattle ranchers in the Midwest face some tough decisions as their pastures bake with little to no rain. Many cattle ranchers are asking themselves if they can afford to feed their full herd, or if they should sell their cattle, perhaps earlier than they'd like. 

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared many farming communities disaster zones, including the entire state of Missouri. Host Kai Ryssdal talks with Ken Lenox, a fifth-generation cattle rancher in Rolla, Mo. 

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Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal