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Economic Impact of the 2012 Drought

Summer 2012 has been one of the worst droughts in decades and has had a dramatic impact on agricultural producers who could not rely on irrigation in Arkansas. The cow-calf sector in Arkansas has been especially hard hit by the 2012 drought. Poor pasture conditions, increased cost of inputs, reduced revenues from low hay production, and lower cattle marketing weights are all factors that have negatively impacted cattle farmers’ bottom line. To measure the economic losses that have already taken place over the past 12 months (August 2011 to July 2012) an online survey was distributed to cow-calf producers in Arkansas. A total of 545 responses from 58 counties were received and the results were used to estimate the economic loss to cow-calf operations from increased hay purchases, reduced hay sales, and decreased calf sales revenue. The drought has resulted in an estimated loss of $141 per bred cow for cow-calf producers or $128 million for the cow-calf sector. Most of this loss is absorbed by the cow-calf sector by pulling additional income out of savings or other investments or more drastic means such as herd liquidations. However, a portion of the direct loss spurs decreases in other industries.

To see the results of the cow-calf operations survey and the economic impact estimates please download them from the links below.


Get the Full Reports (Click icons below to view the full reports)

Estimate of the Economic Impact of Drought on Commercial Beef Cow/Calf Operations in Arkansas: A Comparison of August 2011 to July 2012 with a Typical Production Year

Economic Impact of Cow-Calf Sector Income Losses in Arkansas due to the 2012 Drought


Previous Reports

Impact of the 2012 Drought on Field Crops and Cattle Production in Arkansas - Preliminary Report (August 2012)



U of A Division of Agriculture Research and Extension University of Arkansas System

Southern Risk Management Education Center
South University Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72204
Phone: 501-671-2165 |
Fax: 501-671-2215

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture
Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Department