Southwest Colorado ranchers embracing rain and snow

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MANCOS, Colo. -- The recent blasts of snow and rain in southwest Colorado this week have been a blessing for ranchers. They’re still trying to recover from a drought that’s still plaguing the area.

Many ranchers compare the current drought to the one in 2002.

“It’s been an incredibly challenging year,” said Dustin Stein, a rancher from Mancos. “One of the worst years on record, really."

Stein owns a ranch in Mancos. Drought conditions and a lack of hay forced him to move some of his cattle to Gunnison, which is several hours away.

Stein said it’s not easy owning a ranch in Montezuma County right now.

“It’s complicated. The cattle market is extremely depressed and then you add the drought on top of that and it’s making me second guess my career choices,” Stein said.

As for how the drought will affect people on Colorado’s Front Range, he said it will be noticeable in the quality of their food.

“We’re seeing a lot more foreign beef in the market place which ultimately affects the landscape of Colorado,” Stein said. “A large majority of the state is farms and ranches."

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