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U.S. Cattle Herd Shrinks to Smallest Since 1951 Amid Drought

The U.S. cattle herd shrank to the smallest in 63 years as of Jan. 1, as ranchers struggled to recover from years of drought.

Beef and dairy farmers held 87.7 million head of cattle as this year began, down 1.8 percent from a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in an annual report. That’s the lowest since 1951, the USDA said. Six analysts in a Bloomberg News survey projected a 1.5 percent drop, on average.