Cattle

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From Texas Standard:

The traditional farm-to-table path for food has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many people staying home and out of work, food supply chains can't operate as before. Demand for certain goods has also changed.

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From Texas Standard:

There are lots of terms to describe the market meltdown we've seen over the past month or so: a crash, a dip, a prelude to recession. The cattle industry has its own name for a downturn: a wreck – and make no mistake, we are in the middle of a big one. But though economic shock from coronavirus pandemic is part of it, this wreck has less to do with disease than with the uncertainty surrounding it.

cow
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Presidio County is one of 22 in the state that still abides by open-range laws that allow cattle to roam, more or less, where they want. That means it’s perfectly legal for cattle to wander onto any unfenced property. But a 1980 “estray law,” which applies statewide, allows sheriffs to collect unidentifiable cattle. But that conflicts with the open-range laws in those counties. Now, Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez has asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to settle the dispute.

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From Texas Standard:

Ranchers and cattlemen have some beef with U.S. meatpackers. They claim the meatpackers are purposefully driving down the price the cattle raisers get for their beef. In 2015, meatpackers started to pay ranchers less for their cattle. It would make sense then, that the price of ribeye in the supermarket would also drop around that time. But that didn't happen.

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From Texas Standard:

Raising cattle anywhere is hard, but it’s especially hard in the Rio Grande Valley. And that’s thanks to fever ticks. They can spread a fatal disease that decimated cattle herds through the 1900s and is still feared today. And it’s not just the ticks themselves that can cause headaches, but the regulations designed to control them.

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From Texas Standard.

More than 40 percent of Texas is in some stage of drought right now, according to the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Some parts of the state are especially dry, like the Panhandle and the plains south of the area. That has caused some farmers and ranchers to face difficult choices – like what to do with cattle when there’s not enough grass to graze.

Gabriel C. Pérez/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard.

In 1941, Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie published The Longhorns, the definitive book on the quintessential Lone Star State livestock. Dobie was unsparing in his description of the breed, calling them bony, thin-flanked, some even grotesquely narrow-hipped, but also uniquely suited for the Texas terrain. They were built for survival, not show, which makes them quite different from their modern relatives.

Michael Marks/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

It wasn’t just people who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. Cattle throughout south Texas were also put in harm’s way. But even though the water has receded, the storm’s full effect on the region’s livestock may not be known for some time.

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From Texas Standard:

Texas’ Rio Grande Valley is home to over 200,000 food-producing animals. But it’s facing a critical veterinarian shortage. That could put animals in the region at risk for disease, which could turn into a problem for humans.

KUT News

There’s an old rancher’s saying that the cattle always look good around an oil well.  It means if the ranch is making money leasing to oil companies, the ranch's finances are probably in pretty good shape. So, is the decline in oil hurting Texas ranchers? That’s something state lawmakers are trying to figure out.


If you want to know where your meat came from, you won't be happy with the World Trade Organization right now. Late last week, the WTO announced that the United States' country-of-origin labels, which took effect in 2008, discriminate unfairly against foreign meat suppliers such as Mexico and Canada.

KUT News

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples says he doesn’t expect the Texas beef industry will be significantly affected by a case of BSE — or mad cow disease – found in a California dairy cow.

The disease was discovered when the cow was selected for random sampling. It did not enter the food supply, and mad cow disease cannot be transmitted through milk.

Still, Staples and those in the Texas beef industry are watching the futures markets closely. Prices dropped immediately after the news of the discovery but rebounded overnight.