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Deep freeze has Texas ranchers concerned about food, water for cattle

Andy Uhler Feb 18, 2021
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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Deep freeze has Texas ranchers concerned about food, water for cattle

Andy Uhler Feb 18, 2021
Heard on:
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Those freezing temperatures much of the country has been dealing with this week have some Texas farmers and ranchers concerned about food and water for their cattle. They’re having to adapt to keep their livestock healthy right now.

Farmers in Texas got word from state regulators over the weekend that natural gas was going to be limited to human resource use, like heating homes and for power generation.

That matters to cattle ranchers because many use natural gas boilers to steam the corn they feed to their herds.

“Our members made some adjustments to temporarily dry rolling or cracking corn, doing it in a slightly different way so that we could reduce our natural gas use,” said Ben Weinheimer, vice president of Texas Cattle Feeders Association.

There have also been widespread power outages in Texas, forcing some farmers in the state to go without heat for hours, even days. That’s led to some frozen water troughs and disruption of feed production.

“We’ll see that show up in some market impacts here,” said Derrell Peel, a livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University. “Eventually weights will be down. And so this, you know, this will have some impacts on total production of beef.”

But Peel said it likely won’t be enough of a reduction in beef supply that consumers will feel it in availability or price.

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