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Rain Gives Hope To Oklahoma Ranchers

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Mike Forseman's ranch ponds are very low despite some recent rains. Mike Forseman's ranch ponds are very low despite some recent rains.
He said a lot of the rains have passed the Mounds area by. He's hoping to get at least two inches this week. He said a lot of the rains have passed the Mounds area by. He's hoping to get at least two inches this week.
He is only running about half the head of cattle he normally does. He is only running about half the head of cattle he normally does.
MOUNDS, Oklahoma -

Many Oklahoma ranchers hope our rainy weather this week will make a big difference for an industry that is struggling with year after year of drought.

The dry weather has basically turned many area ponds into puddles.

Recent rains have helped, but how much? One Oklahoman who owns a ranch near Mounds is hoping for more.

During just an average, normal, ordinary year for rainfall, Robert Forseman would have twice as many cattle as he does now.

But the weather hasn't been normal for several years running. 

"Trying to wean down enough that you can make it as long as you can," said rancher Robert Foresman.

Foresman says the rain just seems to keep missing his place. Not far away, Easter weekend storms dropped several inches, filling some ponds.

12/6/2012 Related Story: Persistent Drought Threatening Livelihoods Of Oklahoma Ranchers, Farmers

But it was very localized. Foresman got just a tenth of an inch.

"If anybody is getting it, I'm glad; I wish some would swing this way," he said.

A pond on his property isn't really in any better shape than it was in December when I first visited with Foresman. Where I was standing - my head should have been about six feet under water.

"Right now it's just a foot deep," Foresman said of the pond.

Not only do ponds need water - Foresman is also worried about his wheat, which should be six inches taller.

 

"It's just not a good situation in this area," he said

But the situation could be helped with rainy weather in the forecast. The rain is expected to be more widespread and last 36 to 48 hours.

So there is hope.

"If that pond was full, yeah, it would be a blessing," said Mounds-area rancher Robert Forseman.

But the National Weather Service's long-range forecast predicts spring will bring little in drought relief for Oklahoma and other parts of the southwest.

What happens in April and May, will largely determine what happens to the industry this summer.

"A lot of people in this area here will probably have to liquidate them," Forseman said.

Foresman says we'd likely need a good two-inch rain to get enough runoff to make a decent difference for his pond, and for the wheat and spring grass in his area.

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