Cattle farmers in Northern Arizona planning for continued dry weather

- According to the National Weather Service in Phoenix, there has not been any measurable rain in 81 days, which is pretty rare for this time of year.

The lack of rain is affecting some cattle farmers in Northern Arizona, and some up in that part of the state are working on contingency plans, if Mother Nature does not cooperate.

"We run a cattle ranch here in Northern Arizona," said Sharla Mortimer with Mortimer Farms. "It's about 2,500 acres. It's on National Forest land, so it supports about 200 cows a year."

Mortimer and her family have been cattle ranching in the Dewey-Humboldt area for 15 years. Like any rancher, they have had good years and bad. 

This year, however, they are worried.

They need rain.

"If we don't get rain, then the forest lands and the grasses are not rejuvenating and not growing that grass, and that's what we use to feed the cattle," said Mortimer. "So, we're very dependent on the rain that we get."

Due to the lack of moisture, the Mortimers are preparing a back-up plan

"If it gets to a point where we're not getting enough grasses growing to support the cattle, we have to either supplement the cattle, which is very costly to do, and/or sell off cattle and reduce the herd size," said Mortimer.

Bottom line: they are hoping Mother Nature delivers, and quickly.

"At this point, it just depends on what's next -- if we continue in this dry cycle yes, it will be worrisome to us and we'll have to make some adjustments as it's needed to make sure the cattle are taken care of

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