Several weeks ago I received a phone call asking me to speak to an AP Reporter, Ramit Masti. Ramit was going to do a story on the lingering effects of the tortuous drought. I believe it is important to speak up for our ranching business – so I agreed.
Ramit and Pat, a photographer, arrived on Friday afternoon. We continued with our work and they basically went with us. We had cattle to health check. Brandon and Carl were here to pen one herd, sort the calves, and check cow and calf to be sure all were healthy. We have been doctoring several cows for infections in their hooves. All were good in this herd so back to the pasture they went.
I then had my interview with Ramit. I told her how the drought had been devastating to all ranchers and farmers in Texas. We had had temperatures over 100 degrees for over 60 straight days – several days at 105. NO RAIN!! We worked our cows starting at 4:30 a.m. – it was dark and we relied on our horses to take us where we needed to go. Our stock ponds and creeks completely dried up – we hauled water to our cows. Hay was a huge issue – we had to start feeding earlier than normal. I flagged a loaded hay truck down in Grapeland, Texas and asked the driver where the hay was coming from. It truly was God in action because the driver told me the hay was coming out of Mississippi and I connected with a great, honest, fair man – Paul Thompson. He knew of our plight – sold me hay at a fair price. It was the expense of trucking it from Mississippi to Texas – doubled our price.We brought in over 30 truck loads of hay trying to save our cattle – those trucks came in all hours of the day, night, early morning. They would arrive and Gary, my husband, would un-load. They would turn around to get another load.
So it was so hot it took your breath away – no water – no grass – no winter feed……………and then the wild fires. That was terrifying.
We had to sell our calves early so we lost money on pounds sold. We had to sell all our calves – even our replacement heifers that are normally kept for future production. We had to cull our herds down – selling cows – taking down our future production even further. We used every last available dollar we had to feed the cows. We were emotionally, physically, and financially drained. But ranchers know – we have to do everything we can to save our ranches – save our cattle. That spirit has prevailed for generations.
Ramit listened – she understood what we had gone through and the long term affects ahead of all of us. All ranchers so want to get a positive message out about what we do and how passionate we are. As for my report on the reporter – she has the spirit and heart of a Texas Rancher Girl. She can ride with us anytime – and we hope she does!!!