75-year-old Valley cattle rancher retires amid drought conditions

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A scenic Fresno County foothill cattle ranch covers 750 acres.

Rain has turned the pastures green but warming temperatures are already drying out some areas.

Long-time rancher Roger Tweedy says it was time to sell his 94 head of Black Angus beef cattle.

"I got kind of sentimental about when I first thought of doing it but now, I can hardly wait," he said.

Tweedy did not want to deal with another year of drought.

"Well, I decided to pull the plug on it all and retire just because I'm 75 years old and I figured that was old enough to retire," he said.

The grasses the cattle graze on aren't very high this year.

"The filigree, which really puts weight on them, is like carpeting," Tweedy said. "Real short and low instead of up to your knees."

During wet years, the cattle have plenty of free feed.

But typically, those green pastures dry up under drought conditions and Roger has to buy hay to feed his cows.

"Well, I fed five truck and trailer loads this year," he said. "Probably about $26-27 ,000 worth of hay."

Fuel prices add to the cost.

"Hay's liable to be very high next year," he said. "No rain. Farmers don't have any water to raise the hay."

So Roger will ride off into the sunset, though he doesn't spend as much time on his horse.

The cattle will still graze on his land, though. Behlyng Ranch takes over the herd in May.

"I'ts a good time for me to quit," he said.

Roger knows what the next chapter will bring for he and his wife.

"Travel," he said. "There are places I always wanted to go see - like the Grand Canyon. I've driven past the Grand Canyon dozens of times and have never stopped to look in the hole."
Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.