“We've had several dry summers in a row, so 2020 has been really hard on the farmers and the ranchers. They're out of grass."
“We've had several dry summers in a row, so 2020 has been really hard on the farmers and the ranchers. It's really tough on them because they're out of grass.
In the summer, when it’s supposed to rain, you grow grass in the pasture, then the cows can eat that during the winter. During a drought, when it’s hot and dry, the grass burns up and there are no nutrients left in it, even if it is tall enough for them to forage and graze on. So, you have to supplement that with cattle cubes, hay and lick tubs. Buying supplements instead of relying on the free grass is expensive. And when you have a bad drought, that drives the price of the commodities up because there's not as much corn. So then feed prices are higher than what they would be in a regular rainy year. Going into a winter after a drought is really, really hard on the farmers and the ranchers.
When that happens, people will sell out, they'll sell their cattle. A feed supply store like us, we like the rainy season because even though we don't sell as much feed, people buy more cattle. And then when it gets hot and dry and people start selling out, you lose customers, not because they don't want to come to you but because they don't have any animals.
The drought even affects our hunters, and that's a big part of our business as well. We sell a lot of deer corn. When there's no wheat to attract the deer, there isn’t as much hunting. I haven't seen a lot of bucks this year and they might not have enough nutrients as well because no one's feeding them like you do cattle and sheep and goats. I'm sure their horns aren't as big as they've been in the previous years. So the drought really does affect our farmers and affects so many other things too.
My husband and I are fortunate because we also own a hardware store, which has been busy this year. When everybody stayed home during the quarantine, they began looking at their walls and trim and thinking it was time to spruce them up and do some other projects they’d been meaning to get around to. So that’s been good. We are very thankful and feel blessed.
It's just scary to think about the future and what is going to happen if the drought continues, if it stays so dry. But it's not something the community hasn’t been through before. I mean, this feed store has been around since in 1926 or 1927. My husband, Bret, interned with the previous owner, Tim Ray, who had it for 41 years. When Bret found out it was for sale, we made an offer. Here’s the photo of them right after we bought it. We later realized that Bret’s great granddad actually had a truck shop right there, just a little ways from where we are sitting right now.
Yes, it’s kind of crazy that we are 24 and 25 years old, with a baby and a feed supply store and a hardware store, but we are really happy to be here. The hardware store in McLean was first and this feed supply store here in Shamrock, we opened it in August. I love both communities. They are always there to help each other, especially when things are tough.
It'll rain eventually. And that's what we're all hoping for." -- Bailey #Texas