U.S. Cattle Herd Smallest In 60 Years Because Of Drought

WICHITA, Kan. (February 1, 2013)--A much anticipated government count shows that the nation's cattle herd is the smallest in more than six decades because of the lingering drought, which has forced many ranchers to sell off their animals.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Friday that the U.S. inventory of cattle and calves totaled 89.3 million animals as of Jan. 1, down by 1.5 million cattle, or 2 percent, compared with a year ago at this time.

The agency, which does two counts a year, says this is the lowest January cattle inventory since 1952.

A livestock analyst says fewer cows will mean less beef and higher prices coming down the line for consumers.

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