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3/05/2007

Cattle ranchers hope winter moisture brings relief

Breaking Earth News: Oklahoma, USA
March 05, 2007
TECUMSEH, Okla. (AP) Central Oklahoma cattle rancher David Turner lost one cow last summer when it became stranded in the mud of a drought-shriveled pond.
Months later, he watched a wind-whipped wildfire blaze across a pasture on his ranch.
Yet Turner considers himself one of the luckier ranchers in the state, which is one of several across the country parched from a lingering drought that has hit cattlemen particularly hard.
``We had enough hay to get through the winter a lot of people weren't that fortunate,'' said Turner, 62, while a few Angus cattle grazed outside his living room window. ``But we were at the point of possibly liquidating (the herd) because of water issues.''
In February 2006, the entire state of Oklahoma was in various stages of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Currently, about 50 percent of the state falls into the drought condition category, but problems still remain, said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
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