Recent rain is a good sign for local cattle ranchers

Cattle auction prices at an all-time high

The recent downpours throughout the Rio Grande Valley have been a blessing for many ranchers who have been desperately trying to keep their business alive as the months without rain have forced many of them to sell off much of their livestock.

It hasn't been an easy run for cattle ranchers due to the high cost of hay and lack of water that has forced many to close shop and move on to something different. But as one rancher tells Action 4 News, there could be some hope for the future.

In the 26 years that Sam Rodriguez has been in the cattle auction business, he's never seen the prices as high as they are today.

"Whoever was able to stick it out and hold on to what they had will start seeing some good profits going into their pockets." Said Rodriguez.

Rancher Cornelio Alvarez sold more than half of his cattle this past year which left him with only 16 head.

"Hay was very expensive and the water tanks were low, said Alvarez. The water wasn't there so I had to make decisions and keep my cattle on town water."

A decision that cost Alvarez hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a month.

"It's very hard to be losing money, said Alvarez. So you have to sell."

In the last year, Alvarez estimates that in Starr County alone, about 65 percent of cattle were sold to keep ranchers from losing it all.

As for Rodriguez, owner of R.Y. Sale Barn in Rio Grande City, now that the rains have moved in, he's hoping that many ranchers will start replenishing what they lost and come back.

I think that the cattle industry is here to stay and I foresee a good future for any rancher out there who has an interest in raising cattle." Said Alvarez.

Rodriguez said while these higher prices for cattle is good news for the rancher, it might not be good for the consumer. He said these higher costs will translate into high prices at the supermarket.