The drought that plagued much of the region this summer has caused a cattle shortage, which in turn has prompted prices to rise between 30 to 40 percent higher than this time last year.
The summer's lack of moisture made ranching difficult and contributed to a severe lack of hay and other feed sources. Because hay prices skyrocketed, some ranchers sold off livestock as there wasn't enough feed to keep them through the winter.
Brett Loughlin, a field man at the Belle Fourche (foosh) Livestock Exchange, says beef demand and exports are good. Feeder cattle at the sale barn are up roughly $10 to $20-per-hundred pounds higher than in the past few years.