The number of cattle nationwide is at its lowest since the 1950s. Wyoming’s population is just under 1.3 million, down 5% from last year and the lowest since the early 1990s. Drought has caused many ranchers in the state to sell off cattle.
Executive Vice President of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Jim Magagna, says some older ranchers with smaller operations liquidated their herds altogether and he predicts those cattle will not be replaced for close to a decade.
The farm bill that has been in place for the last five years will be extended at least another nine months as part of a last minute provision under congress’s fiscal cliff package. Instead of a new five-year bill, certain aspects of the old bill will continue until September, like direct subsidies and the food assistance program, SNAP. The extension also offers assistance, including retroactively to last September, for certain programs many Wyomingites hold dear.