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.
Thanks to light snowpack and a dry spring, Wyoming is in the midst of a severe drought. Such dry conditions mean that much of the grass that covers Wyoming’s open spaces isn’t growing. Wyoming Public Radio’s Madison Williams reports that’s bad news for the state’s cattle ranchers, who depend on the grass to feed their livestock.
Wyoming ranchers and law enforcement officials are trying to work together to crack down on modern-day cattle rustlers.
Some ranchers say they've seen an increase in the number of livestock stolen in recent years. An average of 55 rustling cases are reported every year, but many ranchers don't report the thefts, thinking there's nothing they can do.