Alabama Cattle Producers Suffer in Drought

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Darrell Haynes gazes out from the tool shed on his cattle farm and sees but one color. Brown.

Haynes, president of the cattlemen's association in Cullman County, north of Birmingham, lives in the middle of what the government says is the worst drought currently gripping the United States.

All or part of 23 counties in north Alabama are parched amid the area's worst dry spell since record-keeping began in the 1890s.

Because he can't grow enough hay to feed his cattle and prices are getting so high he can't afford to buy feed either, Haynes plans to sell 400 head this week, four times the normal amount for this time of year.

Alabama ranchers have started selling off cattle for fear they won't have enough hay or grain to feed them through the summer and, especially, through next winter.

State agriculture officials, meanwhile, are trying to figure out ways to feed the cattle to keep the state's herd from being thinned too much. The options include having farmers in other states temporarily keep Alabama breeder cows.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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