The US livestock industry is experiencing “the most catastrophic year” in its history, or is it?

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Today there is no doubt that ranchers have been the worst affected sector of the entire US agricultural industry in 2020. In addition to the pandemic, they have been forced to deal with wildfires that spanned more than 4 million acres in California later this year.

The fire has already ravaged the Sierra and Mendocino national forests used as pastures for decades, killing livestock and has destroyed about 38 million acres of grassland managed by ranchers, who make up more than one-third of the state of California. In fact, the latter have tried to evacuate their livestock and many have not succeeded.

“People continue to fight to save their ranches. This is the most catastrophic year we have ever experienced, especially those who depend on the forest for their livelihood,” said Kirk Wilbur, vice president of government affairs for the California Livestock Association.
For example, Dave Daley, Butte County rancher, lost more than 85% of his flock that was not insured. For six generations his family has tilled the land with around 400 head of cattle, which they graze freely in the forest each summer. After the fires, Daley now doesn’t see a clear path to follow. He’s still trying to take stock of the herd that survived while still searching the forest for survivors every day.

This farmer does not have an optimistic forecast for the rest of the year and for the beginning of 2021, since the winter rains could cause landslides in the area. The man accuses politicians of obstructing public herding and controlled burning. According to Daley, now the forests have become “powder kegs”.

Is everything so bad?

In addition to the constant blackouts caused by high temperatures, the fires have significantly affected California’s livestock industry. However, they are unlikely to have a significant impact on the distribution of beef or drive up prices at the national level, as these represent less than 2% of all ranches in the United States, writes the Bloomberg agency.

2020 has been a volatile year in the meat market of the North American country. Thousands of slaughterhouse workers have been infected with COVID-19, leading to the plants closing. This raised the prices of beef.
However, the livestock industry She was not the only one to be hit. Warehouses and cannabis crops were also affected. Napa County, a leader in California’s $ 43.6 billion wine industry, has lost 80% of its Cabernet Sauvignon.

These damages are due to the fact that smoke pollution often affects grapes. Meanwhile it is unlikely to harm other crops. According to the California Federation of Agricultural Bureaus, most other crops have not suffered significant damage, as they are located further away from burning forests and are irrigated.

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