Thu, Dec 18, 2014 01:14
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Cows: An Economic Ghost Story
Cows:  An Economic Ghost Story   | Cattle, economic ghost story, ghost story, drought, harsh, selloff,

Ranch Cow Skull. Photo by Karnegie Musa. Copyright 2011.

No cows. 

That’s what I saw as I drove several hours through Central Texas.

My passenger noticed the phenomenon first.

“Where’s the cows?” she said suddenly.

We looked.  We drove by ranch after ranch. Stripped pastures. A few hay bales.  Fewer horses. Dust.  A few burned out places from wildfires. And more dust. It was disorienting. All looked so empty, as if something had happened to my depth perception, or the ability to perceive the spatial relationships of the range. The cattle were missing, but I don’t’ think rustlers are to blame. It feels like a way of life has vanished, at least for the present.  

I kept driving and rubbernecking, looking for cattle as if I were in a ghost story happening in bleak, hot sunlight.

I finally saw two longhorns tied up to a fence post by a ranch house.  That was it. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t see thousands of cattle grazing on these drives. The corrals looked like havens for ghosts.

The cattle selloff continues what started months ago.  With no cattle, calves will be few to none this fall.  Or next spring. Or next fall. Are you scared yet? No? Don’t worry, the story will become harsher in the coming months.

Enjoy the price of your steaks and hamburgers now.