Recent moisture has improved range land in southern Colorado, and given ranchers new hope. But agricultural officials are recommending that ranchers go easy on grazing so the land can recover. They say it could take at least a decade for that to happen if people overgraze this summer.
Many Colorado ranchers sold all or most of their cattle or shipped their animals out of state last year because the drought withered pasture land and there wasn't enough water for much of a hay crop. Ranchers in southwestern Colorado are still struggling because the area didn't get as much snow and rain as the rest of the state did this spring.
But, other areas expect a good hay crop this year and the grass is greener in pastures. Agriculture officials still say it could take three more years before things return to normal.