Bitter Cold, Snow Brings Costly Loss For Oklahoma Ranchers

Monday, February 14th 2011, 4:30 pm
By: News 9

Gan Matthews, News 9

CLEVELAND COUNTY, Oklahoma -- Cattle are hearty creatures, but some of them have been no match for Oklahoma's recent severe winter weather.

At least half a dozen cattle deaths have been reported in Cleveland and McClain Counties in the past two weeks. Dale Horton lost two cattle.

"I had some weaning-age calves that just absolutely walked out on the pond," said Horton. "And, of course, they fell through the ice."

The rest of Horton's herd survived because he was careful to make sure they had plenty of hay and access to water. 

Monday, Horton went to the FSA office. He wanted to see if he could recover part of his loss through the USDA's Livestock Indemnity program.

"Producers, if they lose more than their normal mortality caused directly by an adverse weather event, then possibly we can help 'em," said Mike Leverett with the Farm Service Agency.

Horton doesn't want to lose any more cattle.

"It's something you don't like to see happen, but it's gonna happen," he said.

A cattle rancher in Morris, Oklahoma, who lost four cows and two calves to the storms, donated their meat to an animal sanctuary in Broken Arrow. That totaled between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds of beef.