Some cattle ranchers are debating quitting over recent challenges

We have told you how drought and high input costs have led to some tough decisions for ranchers when it comes to reducing herd size. Now, some cow-calf producers are talking about exiting the profession altogether.

It is something Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack addressed recently, saying he is not surprised folks want to get out. USDA’s Shayle Shagam says choices are limited.

“The ownership may cease, but what do you do with the land? You know, in many areas, the cow-calf operators are raising cows and calves because it’s not really suitable for grain. So do you simply sell your operation to somebody else who then continues to run cows on that land? Because in many cases there are not a lot of alternative uses for that land,” said Shagam.

Shagam says there is no way to know in real time what is happening with beef operations since officials only track cattle numbers.


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