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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Where are my Overshoes?

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Last week was one wild week here in Wyoming with all of the weather conditions.
The moisture was sure welcome in central Wyoming, while other areas just wanted some sunshine and warmth with lambing ready to start. Either way, none of us can complain about the snow depth dropped in the mountains, especially in the west, and hopefully there were enough warm days to hatch grasshoppers before the cold and wet appeared. We can only hope on that one.
As you read in last week’s Roundup, John Lawson, Area Manager of the Bureau of Reclamation here in Wyoming, is really shaking the dice now. I wouldn’t want to get in a poker game with John – he has Wyoming ice water running through his veins. In the spring his job is to balance, as far as the North Platte and Shoshone drainages are concerned, the eastern half of the state’s water storage, including what reservoirs to fill and how much to send downstream. This year the farmers downstream, who’ve had a lot of the precipitation lately, haven’t called for any water as of yet. Somehow John has to figure out where to store the early water and still have room for late runoff – runoff like this last storm will produce.
If this year we have above average runoff, like we’ve had the last three years, the storage reservoirs will overflow, and mostly because of all the carryover water. This means Pathfinder Reservoir could run over, something I have only seen twice in my lifetime, and that we’ll have water we might have to just give to Nebraska and other states downriver if Glendo and Guernsey remain full. John always seems to get it figured out, but as he says, “I’m always looking forward to August.”
In addition to having the North Platte system as good as it can get, the beef and lamb prices Wyoming’s producers are looking to get could also be very good. It’s not often in the meat business that all three factors – producer, feeder and packer – all make money at the same time. I know this doesn’t happen often, so sit back, watch the grass grow and enjoy it. As we all realize, commodities like beef and lamb are driven by supply and demand. Lately demand has increased and supply has decreased. Look at it this way: if you’re raising beef or lamb today, you’re a smart person. But don’t get too big of a head – market fundamentals still rule prices and, with our national economy struggling and considering how volatile our world economic conditions are, factors could change in a small time frame. 
Our national economy is growing, and more people are eating out now than in the last three years. They say half of the beef consumed in the U.S. is eaten at a restaurant, so that is also good news. I would think lamb would be higher than beef, but exports for both are up and imports are down thanks to our dropping dollar. I know for beef, hide and offal values have almost doubled in the last year.
Always remember the good times, and that dreams and dedication are a powerful combination.

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