"It's kind of a Band-Aid," he says. "If anything, it helped our spirits."
"We're going to ride it as long as we can," he says. "But you get to the point where there's no need throwing good money after bad. It's better to take your licking and just quit."
Normally, Simmons would now be planting seeds to grow feed crops to take his herd through next spring. However, if there is no rain in the next two weeks, the seed will stay in the shed and there won't be a herd next spring.
"If we can't get some rain there's not much hope for next year," he says.
Cattle feed on limited supplies of hay
Texas ranchers have watched helplessly as the drought has plowed through their herds. In this state, the cattle business is down $451 million dollars -- a figure that could easily double.
For now they have only barren fields, hungry cows and many questions.
"What do you do when it's all gone?" Asks Simmons. "How do you come back? Does it break your spirit? Do you want to come back?"
These days, however, everywhere Texas cattle ranchers look for answers they come up dry.
Reported by Jim Axelrod
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