Ranchers forced to sell off cattle

Posted at: 09/09/2013 9:15 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

If you’re driving in rural New Mexico, chances are you’ll see fewer cows.  The drought has forced ranchers to sell off herds.  But KOB Eyewitness News 4 found out it’s not all bad news.

Hundreds of cattle are being sold at an auction.           

“It’s sad, it’s sad but everybody didn't have a choice.  The last few years people held them as long as they could," said rancher Gene Bassett.

Since last year the number of cattle in New Mexico has dropped 20 percent because of the drought.  Ranchers have been forced to sell their cattle.

 “The numbers are as low as they've been in no telling how long since it’s been this low," said rancher Dave McIntosh.

Despite the looming drought, there is some good news.  Now is a good time to sell.  Gene Bassett owns 300 cattle.

"I've been raising cattle for about 15 years now. And it’s been a volatile market the whole time, it's been up and down and right now we're definitely in one of the up swings.  The cattle that are being brought to the sale are bringing in excellent money," said Bassett.

“It sure makes the price a lot better because there’s fewer cattle so there’s more demand for the ones that are here," said McIntosh.

But even though it looks like a lot of cattle will be sold, ranchers said it will be a long time before New Mexico will be back to where it was years ago.

“With our numbers way down, we're a long ways away from having our cow numbers back up," said McIntosh.