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Cattle are sold Feb. 12 at the Mitchell Livestock Auction. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)

'It might be time to stock up on beef'

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Brian Bowne watched carefully, with a cell phone pressed tightly against his ear, as cattle barreled through the gates of the auction ring during a sale this month at Mitchell Livestock Auction.

Lingering effects of the drought that devastated the Great Plains in recent years have shrunk the size of the cattle herd in South Dakota and the United States.

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