Drought Impact on West Texas Livestock Shows 1/30/11
January 30, 2012
Ward County, TX - The continuing drought is having an impact on livestock shows across the Permian basin this year.
From the price of animals to the price of hay the cost is simply too much for some contestants.
Hundreds of students across are preparing their animals for the spotlight at the county livestock shows.
“It takes a lot of time and effort,” said High school senior Cullen Beard.
Beard has been a 4-H student for the past ten years. He says right now participation is down.
“It’s not near as much as last year,” he said, “It’s not cheap.”
Coordinators say the price of feed and the cost of show animals is too much for some contestants.
Many 4-H students use the money they earn selling these animals towards their college education.
“This is my first year,” fifth grader Weslee Suttle.
Weslee will be earning money for college in these shows until graduation.
“You have to feed them, practice, and walk them,” she said.
“It teaches them life skills so it is very important,” said Ward County Extension Agent Arlan Gentry who says many goats, for example, cost over $200 more than last year.
“It depends on Mother Nature and the resources it gets,” he said, “Its very expensive on buying feed an hay.”
After all the work and financial investment, contestants like Beard say its still all worth it.
“Everything building up to the show is not real fun,” he said, “But the show itself is a lot of fun.”
This year contestants’ budgets were tight, but Gentry says the tradition will remain.
“Especially in west Texas,” he said, “It's a tradition and one we look forward to every year.”
Gentry hopes that by the end of the week the students sell the show animals at a higher cost to compensate for the high prices caused by the drought.
So what can you do if you're in need of hay for your livestock?
The Texas department of agriculture can help.
They have a "hay hotline" which allows hay producers to get in contact with those needing help during these dry conditions.
The number is 877-429-1998.
You can also go to TexasAgriculture.gov to find producers and to be listed as a hay producer.
The drought and hay prices are not the only issues causing concern for those who compete in livestock shows.
Many contestants say the mysterious attacks by what some believe are a pack of wild dogs have also been making life difficult.
Back in November At least 100 animals were killed over two months in Ward County.