As pastures continue to turn brown and crispy, ranchers struggle to keep their cattle fed.
Some are investing a lot of money to take their cows to other states where there's moisture, but some are going a very different direction: They're rushing to auction to cut down on the number of mouths to feed.
Bill Noziska, a Butte County rancher, hasn't sold any of his cattle just yet, but it's just a matter of time.
"Whether it's pasture or hay," he said, "we're running on last year's leftovers."
Only half of his fields -- between 400 and 500 acres -- are in good enough shape for grazing. That means there's not a lot of food right now, and there'll be even less come winter.
"We're only going to be able to keep the livestock that we finally can decide we have enough food to feed," said Noziska.
In normal years, he can get between 300 and 400 tons of hay from his fields. But instead of harvesting this year, he's already looking to buy hay for the winter.
Now, to scale back costs, he and other ranchers head to auction.
"Normally this time of year, we'd run 300, 400, 500 slaughter cows and bulls," said Dean Strong, owner of the Belle Fourche Livestock Exchange. "Today we'll have, I don't know, 20-some-hundred cattle."
And that's nothing out of the ordinary.
A recent auction in Torrington, Wyo., saw 10 times its usual sales.
"A lot of these cattle pairs already today is going to North Dakota, eastern South Dakota, Iowa," and other places that actually have some moisture, Strong said.
"They're going to have to replace them at some point when we get some moisture and grass," he said of the ranchers.
And that could be a while.
"It's not a thing where we can rely on these pastures coming back this yea," Noziska said.
The extreme conditions have led Butte County commissioners to declare a drought-caused natural disaster, which could mean some financial relief for struggling ranchers.