Drought conditions improving for Green Country farmers, beef prices expected to maintain

ROGERS COUNTY, Okla. - Ray Heldermon, a cattle farmer in Rogers County, is smiling ear to ear following all the rain his farmland has received.

His pastures are green and the ponds are full. "It isn't good grass, but we'll take whatever we can get it right now," Heldermon said.

OSU Extension Ag Agent Donna Patterson says for the most part the rain has been good for farmers in her county. But we're still not out of a drought cycle. She says this may just be a wet year in the cycle.

There are a few problems some farmers are facing following all the rain, she says. The ground is too wet for wheat farmers and it's too moist to harvest hay, she says.

Add those problems to most cattle farmers already taxing recovery after two dry years.

"It's going to take a little bit for the cattle industry to recover, because we've been in a situation were we've decreased our herd size, and we've sold a lot of calves," she said. "So we have fewer herds that are producing calves."

As for consumers, they can expect beef prices to continue to stay high, and maybe even rise.

"You can expect beef prices to stay the same, maybe go up just a little bit for the simple fact that in the past year the cows that have been cultivated have sustained the market," Patterson said. "Now that we're not in a situation that we're going to be culling a lot of cow, there might not be a lot of supply."

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