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Weather and Climate

Ranchers Fight Drought With Desert Cows

Criollo cattle on the Jornada Experimental Range. These cattle can survive in desert environments, which ranchers hope will make them a better choice in the drought ridden American west. (Ted of DGAR/Flickr Creative Commons)
Criollo cattle on the Jornada Experimental Range. These cattle can survive in desert environments, which ranchers hope will make them a better choice in the drought ridden American west. (Ted of DGAR/Flickr Creative Commons)

Imagine a cow that can tolerate the heat and eats relatively little grass – in other words, a cow that can thrive in the desert.

Meet the Criollo, a cattle breed that was brought to America by Columbus and established by the Spanish conquistadors in the late 1500s.

Criollos were hardy and raised for milk, meat and leather, but the British phased them out in the late 1800s when they introduced new breeds.

Now, researchers and ranchers – especially out West where drought continues to plague farms – are looking to bring back these desert-friendly cows.

Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd speaks with Alfredo Gonzalez, a Criollo rancher and animal scientist at the Jornada Experimental Range in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Guest

  • Alfredo Gonzalez, animal scientist at the Jornada Experimental Range in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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