Fresh out of college, Bob and I bought a small farm in Iowa in late 1987. The property was basically a big pasture, and we looked forward to starting a sheep herd. But drought hit in 1988. Our pastures turned brown, the lawn was crunchy, and I didn't even bother with a garden. We put all our plans on hold for a year and invested in an air conditioner for our old farmhouse.
We have not had a dry year since then, until now. I took this photo of a corn field a few miles south of our farm. There were lots more like that between our place and Kansas City. It's much worse in Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, and throughout the south. We have hay stockpiled in the barn, so our sheep are going to be fine this winter, but pastures are dry and hay is short all over. Feed costs are headed up.
We are going to cull our ewes heavily this fall, keeping only the younger and more productive females. We are selling all of our goats. 2012 will be a year when livestock producers have to make tough decisions. Take care.