2012's drought took a toll on ranchers and cattle producers, and those affected are meeting up across the state to find ways to keep their industry strong.About 30 cow- calf producers came to Monday night's meeting, hoping to get tips on how to rebound from the 2012 drought.
Officials say pastureland has taken a hit with more weeds growing than sustainable grasses, and ranchers say the key to staying competitive is being efficient and keeping costs down. "One of the biggest costs the producers deal with, cow-calf producers is feed cost is the number one cost," said UNL's Kate Brooks. "But being efficient in helping reduce those feed costs helps them become more successful, but also within farming and managing their cow herds as well." "Forages as a whole in the past few years have been really valuable," said UNL's Jerry Volesky. "Whether we're talking about renting pastures or talking about buying hay, producing some other type of seeded forages, they're a big cost to the livestock producer." The UNL series started in Ainsworth on January 6 and concludes with meetings in Stapleton and Kimball on January 14.