LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A few years ago, a severe drought forced many cattle ranchers to sell their herds. Jason Tate, a cattle manager for Sweetlake Land & Oil, said, "The drought was kind hard on us. We just had to lighten up some of our pastures and cut back on some of the numbers where I was running."
Now, the cattle industry is experiencing a turn around as cattle prices are going up.
The surge in cattle prices is because of two reasons: Lower numbers of U.S. cattle because of the drought, and an increased demand for beef.
"This has caused a tightness in the supply of animals and herd liquidations from producers. At the same time, we've had a continuous demand for protein from around the world," said John Denison, Agricultural Manager for Sweetlake Land & Oil.
Just like any other business, when the demand outweighs the supply, prices will go up. Rancher have seen a 20-30-cent increase per pound as compared to last year.
What does this mean for the Southwest Louisiana cattle industry? Denison knows it's great news to the local economy.
"We put more money in the production sector, then that money gets turned around in our economy. Producers are constantly trying to improve operations. To put that money back into their ranches, and improve their cattle herds, and fences and pastures. So, it's definitely a big economic impact," he said.
Right now, cattle prices are expected to hold and perhaps even increase due to the decrease in beef production.
Tate thinks it's a great time for the cattle industry.
"It's a great time to be in this industry right now. Makes a man feel good when he can get $800-$1,000 for something he raises," he said.