Sheep ranchers glad to see rain

Farmers and ranchers were thrilled to see some rain on Wednesday. The drought has hit them hard so the rain was welcome.
February 26, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Farmers and ranchers were thrilled to see some rain on Wednesday. The drought has hit them hard so the rain was welcome.

The sound of wet wooly sheep drowned out the raindrops at this Clovis ranch. It was moving day. Nervous ewes called out to their babies - ending the silence of the lambs.

The storm hit earlier than the crew expected.

Ranch foreman Emilio Leon said, "We were very worried thinking there wasn't going to be any rain but at least we got something. It's going to help us a lot."

Ryan Indart was moving his sheep to a nearby pasture to forage for food. Indart was glad to see the rain because he's been paying for supplemental feed these past few months.

Indart explained, "That's when it hit us hard so I went out and bought two loads of hay and two loads of almond hulls and I've had to sell lambs early and sell some sheep early."

The rain will turn his scenic foothill pasture into a lush green color and provide free feed for the sheep. Indart's had to send a lot of his animals to the market earlier than he wanted.

"I was able to sell lambs at a pretty good price. I couldn't feed them so we got rid of them," said Indart. "They went back to the midwest and so they're going to be ready for lamb chops in about two to three months."

After the move the ewes fed on natural grasses and re-connected with their lambs. Indart's thankful for the rain but he knows the summer could bring severe drought conditions.

"We're prepared for it. It's been very, very tough but we'll to get through it," said Indart. "We'll be wounded but we'll get through it."

In addition to raising sheep, Indart also grows almonds and cherries. Ryan relies exclusively on his wells to irrigate - no federal water deliveries - so rain makes him very happy.

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