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Drought Forces Panhandle Beef Plant to Close

KUT News

Years of drought have wreaked havoc on the cattle industry in Texas. Today a major beef processor in the Panhandle said it is temporarily closing a plant because of dwindling supply.

Cargill says it will idle its facility in Plainview, which employs about 2,000 people.

“You can’t just bring cattle back the day it rains,” said Travis Miller, an agronomist with Texas A&M’s Agrilife Extension Service. “You have to let grasses regrow and your forage base re-establish before you can bring cattle in.”

Cargill says it will provide some help to its employees, including the possibility of relocation. The nation's cattle herd is at its lowest level in six decades.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.