Cattle population decreases but optimism remains high

Amarillo, TX - The cattle population is the lowest it has been in several decades, but officials say there is still room for optimism.

Texas herds have dropped by about 11-percent in the last year, but even with fewer cattle there is still hope for ranchers.

Even with the loss of more than one-million head just in Texas, the Texas Cattle Feeders Association says their is opportunity for ranchers to grow by getting cattle from different areas.

"It's absolutely a green light for cow/calf producers to expand and if you look at their economic opportunity over the next several years, they have every signal to expand. All signals are they, ranchers will continue to see record prices for calves," said Don Close with the TCFA.

Cattle may be decreasing but the price for one head is up about 18-percent from a year ago, and the Amarillo auction says sales are still steady.

"We are looking at all time record prices for cows and calves, the long term positive out look for the ranching community, overall attitude at the convention we are very upbeat," added Close.

As the demand for beef increases so does the price for you at the grocery store, but thankfully, close says we should be over the biggest price jump.

"Consumers, most of the, tightening of supply of all protein, and the tightening supplies of beef supplies, that we've seen, we probably saw a greater price impact throughout 2010-2011 than what we will see in 2012," said Close.

The increase in price expected for 2012 is about five and half percent.