National Drought Mitigation Center

National Drought Mitigation Center
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Cattle sales, crop loss near Herreid, South Dakota
7/10/2017 12:00:00 AM

Plants & Wildlife
Society & Public Health
Campbell County, SD
Herreid, SD

Start Date: 6/7/2017 - End Date: 6/29/2017
We farm and ranch 7 miles west of Herreid, South Dakota and we have wheat, soybeans and corn crops and also run around 200 head of cows with calves on the side. The crops were planted on time but due to no moisture this spring in our area, some of the crops came up, but look bad and other crops haven't even come up and when we have dug down in the ground, the seed has turned black. There will be no crop! We are hoping for rain soon so we can go back into those fields and plant some sort of feed source for our cattle. Due to the dry conditions, for the past month, we have been sorting through our herd and picking off cow/calf pairs to sell due to the lack of grass for the summer. We had a very hard winter and our feed supply is very low and with no corn crop, we will be looking for some type of feed for the cows or we are considering sending our cows away for the winter, just so we can keep the younger portion of our herd. My husband and I have been married for close to 31 years this fall and we went through one drought in 2006 and it was one of the hardest things we have gone through, and especially for me. We started our own herd by buying some registered Simmental cows and most of our herd is home raised, and yes, this old farm lady gets quite attached to her cows. In 2006, we had to sell 75 pairs and I can still remember the day the semis came into the yard to take those mama cows and their babies to the sales barn. I cried and cried! Now, we are experiencing the same thing! We have sold 20 pairs so far and will be selling 18 more pairs tomorrow. Yes, I always watch our animals in the sale ring and yes, I'm not ashamed to say, the tears flow down my face as they sell as this is a hard situation as it isn't something we have done wrong, but God and Mother Nature at work. We have seen news stories from Aberdeen, SD and Bismarck, ND where the trucks and trailers are lined up for a long distance as they wait to drop off their pairs at the local sales barn. I have a feeling it will be happening in our local sales barns this week also! The crops and cattle is the livelihood for these farmers and ranchers and some have been in the business for years and others are just beginning. What a hardship this will be for all farmers and ranchers as not only do they not have a crop for market, they will have no cattle to sell when they usually do to pay off the operating loans, etc. People in our country need to realize that these farmers and ranchers who bust their you know what day after day, is what keeps food on their tables. It does not magically appear at the grocery stores! The sad part is that our son, who is 20 years old, just graduated from college with an Agronomy degree and he plans to work for awhile, which he is doing, but in the future, he would like to take over the family farm and he would be the 4th generation to run this operation. This situation is scaring him as he realizes how quickly things can go the other way. We need more of these family farms and ranches instead of the big operations as this is what life is all about to give the legacy down to the next generation. My husband and I just want the government, people, etc. to know what our situations are as every day is full of work and worry. There have been many sleepless night staying up and talking and figuring out what we are going to do as this was not the plan for this year. Yes, we chose this as our job, but why is it when other states have a storm disaster or whatever, it is immediately blown out of proportion by the media, but "never" do we hear anything about when something like this happens in the Dakotas. This is not just South Dakota it is affecting North Dakota also! From Herreid, South Dakota on June 7, 2017