Ranchers using Facebook to help find lost cattle

Video of cattle and cattle brands are being posted.

KUSA - It's been nearly a week since a spring snow storm hit Prowers and Baca counties. Ranchers are still trying to find cattle they lost in the storm - and the cattle that survived.
A Facebook page was created where people are sharing photos and video of cattle they find wandering around.

Ranchers in those two counties are also posting their brands to the "Missing Cattle Baca County Blizzard" page to help identify who the cattle belong to.
"You're going to find them and you're going to see the brand, but unless you have a brand book handy, or you can call the brand inspector to get that information, this makes it a lot faster and easier to talk to people," said Justin Willhite, a rancher still trying to find some of his own cattle.

9NEWS spoke to Willhite on Wednesday when he was still out searching for his cattle.
Then, he was missing 45 to 50 cattle and an unknown number of calves.
By Friday, he said he had found most of them, but was still out looking for seven cattle and up to 25 calves.

RELATED STORY: Cattle killed by spring snow storm

Many people are questioning why the cattle were not placed in barns or shelters ahead of the Saturday storm.
Willhite is clarifying why many ranchers left them out.
"It's kind of a gamble when you go into these storms, you may not be safe having your cattle confined because even then - they breath in this heavy wet snow and they drown in it," he said. "In confined spaces the snow tends to drift a lot higher and more quickly."

He went on to explain that having barns large enough to house an entire herd of cattle is economically unfeasible.
"You would have to figure that each cow and calf pair would need at least a 15' x 15' square area. Multiply that by about 200 pairs and you can see how large these structures would have to be," Willhite said. "And out in this country a structure like that wouldn't last very long. High winds or a tornado would take it quickly."

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency is working to help any ranchers that need assistance with recovery.
They should contact the USDA's Livestock Indemnity Program for help.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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