Water, drought, border security and the cattle market outlook were pertinent issues discussed at the 2015 Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Convention held recently at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

The three-day convention attended by 3,500 producers featured cattle handling demonstrations and presentations from industry leaders on a variety of issues.

Overall, Texas cattle producers continue to slowly rebuild herds as parts of the state continue to deal with drought conditions.

“I don’t think anybody is wholesale going out and buying bunches of cows and restocking,” said Dr. Joe Paschal, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist, Corpus Christi. Paschal gave a live demonstration on the function of a cow’s rumen during opening-day activities.

“What we’re seeing is when people normally in the past hold back 10 to 15 percent females as replacements, they are (now) holding back maybe 20 or 25 percent or they are going to buy some replacement females to fit that sort of bill,” Paschal said. “A guy that has 100 cows that is holding back 15 heifers… it doesn’t take long for that steady, slow incremental process to get us back (to larger inventory levels).”

However, Paschal said drought and high cattle prices have put a lot of producers in a dilemma of either choosing whether to sell out amid high prices and buy back later when cow costs come down in price.

“We are a long ways from getting back to where we were,” he said. “To be honest, I don’t think some folks are going to come back. As I look across the country, the big guys will come back and some of the smaller guys may not.”

Paschal advised producers to use AgriLife Extension spreadsheets and advice from the agency’s livestock economists to choose which options are best.

“We have enough AgriLife Extension spreadsheets and livestock economists who can help you as to what it is going to cost you, and can I (you) pay x amount of dollars for these cows to keep her around four to six years and still have a positive net return. It is very important to go through that process. It is pretty easy to fall in love with a cow as she runs through the ring or standing out there in the pasture and being a hold for three or five years.”

Mexico’s former President Vicente Fox was the keynote speaker, and Sylvia Longmire, author of Border Insecurity, was also a featured speaker at the convention.

Susan Combs, who served terms as Texas state comptroller and agriculture commissioner, was named honorary vice president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. Re-elected to their officer positions were President Pete Bonds, Saginaw, Executive Vice President Eldon White, Fort Worth, First Vice President Richard Thorpe, Winters, and Second Vice President Robert McKnight, Fort Davis.