Loneragan said another problem is that nationally, over the past 10 years, we've been going through a liquidation of cattle which has dramatically decreased the amount of cows across the U.S.
He said the lack of cattle, plus the drought, has made it nearly impossible to raise cattle and keep meat plants open across the South Plains.
The drought was very prolonged, is very prolonged, and very severe," said Loneragan. "It's historic, really, in its effect in what it has done to the region and what it has done to the cow heard. You need enough cattle to fill this just to cover your costs it's very expensive to run a plant, and if you can't find enough cattle to cover the costs then it is really difficult to operate."
Although Loneragan said the immediate price of live cattle will go up, United Supermarkets Director of Communications Eddie Owens said beef prices will not. Owen said all of United's production that was coming out of Cargill has already been shifted to a meat packing plant in Friona.