Cowman is 'most optimistic person in the world' auction owner says
Houston County Courier
By Jenna Duncan
The cattle industry is still seeing the negative effects from the 2011 drought, with the volume of cattle sold last week at East Texas Livestock just more than half of the comparable date last year - selling 251 cattle Tuesday, Feb. 12 compared to 464 on Feb. 14, 2012. While February is normally a low month for sales, Paul Craycraft of East Texas Livestock said this year is unusual because while last year there was good moisture and conditions, producers are still recovering from the drought and holding onto their heifers to rebuild their herds. The producers remain unsure of the future, he said, and evened seasoned ranchers in their 80s are unsure how to fully recover from the losses of 2011. "We're all in unchartered waters," Craycraft said. "We have nothing to guide us. We have nothing to go by because this is a whole different ball game. The worst drought in Texas history. We have no book to go by, no past experience to go by because we've never seen anything like it, but we'll make it." During a Beef Quality Assurance program two weeks ago for cowboys in Houston County and surrounding areas, attendees completed a survey for McVean Trading and Investments to collect data about the herds they work. The results showed that, on average, there has been a decrease of 40 to 45 percent of cattle owned, Craycraft said, but also showed roughly 75 percent of the producers were looking to grow their herds. "Now it's a rebuilding process," Craycraft said.