Wyoming Cattle Numbers Dropped in Drought Years

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming's cattle population dropped 21% during the drought of the past decade, but rebounded slightly last year. The numbers are in a newly released annual report by federal and state agricultural agencies.

The Wyoming Agricultural Statistics report says the cattle count in Wyoming dropped from almost 1.7 million in 1998 to 1.3 million in 2008. This January's count was up 3% from the year before.

Wyoming Department of Agriculture Director, Jason Fearneyhough says other factors could have played into the decline but drought definitely contributed. He says ranchers sell off cattle when drought-plagued ranges can't accommodate as many animals.

A drought gripped Wyoming starting in 1999 until conditions eased in mid-2008.

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