‘My heart goes out to them’

A rancher transports round bales of hay down a rural road in Grayson County, Texas.

Donald Cole, a rancher from west-central Missouri, called me the other day after reading about the plight of ranchers in critically dry California. Many have been forced to send their cattle to greener pastures out of state, or to buy expensive hay from other areas and have it shipped here.

Apparently Missouri is having a better time of it.

“We did have a good hay crop and plentiful pasture,” Cole told me.

He wanted to know if the California ranchers would be able to take his hay. “I don’t know if it’s feasible or not — it may well not be,” Cole said. “But we had four years of drought out here and I know how it feels. My heart goes out to them.”

Alas, Central Valley cattleman Duane Martin Jr. told me that Missouri was simply too far away to justify the cost of freight.

The wait for rain continues, with not a drop in sight.

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    Alex Breitler

    A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann, who forces him to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada or Trinity Alps at every opportunity. He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in ... Read Full
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