Soaking rains saving cattle, farms in Tooele County

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GRANTSVILLE — After one of the driest winters on record, Tooele County farmers and ranchers desperately hoped for a wet spring. The recent soaking rains they've received mean many of them already have what they needed to avoid big losses.

Ernest Matthews has raised cattle near Grantsville all of his life, and this past winter was the driest he'd ever seen.

Matthews feared the lack of snow and rain, and the low levels in the Grantsville Reservoir, would lead to inadequate feed for his cattle and young calves. He worried he would have to sell them off as his feed ran out this summer — a circumstance he’d never had to contemplate before.

"We didn't know whether we were going to make it through the summer or not,” Matthews said. “I know my neighbors were considering selling their cattle, but I don't think they will now."

The rain started last month, and as April turned into May the storms kept coming. Matthews and his fellow ranchers and farmers received 2.5 inches of water from the storm last week, with more falling over the last few days.

“It's been really good,” Matthews said. "I think it made it so that we can hang on to the cattle and probably grow something."

It was just enough rain, just when they desperately needed it.

Because Tooele County farmers and ranchers have only received half of their normal allotment of water from the Grantsville Reservoir, this rain has been critical in helping them hang on.

“I think it will sure help,” Matthews said. “Hopefully we'll make it."


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Jed Boal


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