Snow Is Hard On Ranchers

The cold, snowy winter is tough on everyone. Plenty of folks deserve our sympathy and appreciation.

That said, spare a kind thought for area cattle producers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture pegs North Dakota’s average snow cover at 24.3 inches, nearly twice the 13.3 inches of a year ago. All the snow has plugged a lot of roads, with 44 percent of county and secondary roads closed.

Some ranchers, especially ones whose cattle don’t winter on the home place, have double trouble. They need first to get to their hay supplies, and then to get the hay to the cattle.  It’s long, cold, dreary work.

I talked recently with a North Dakota cattleman who fought the big snow winter of 1996-97. As he describes it: “Some days we moved snow and then fed cattle. Some days we fed cattle and then moved snow. And some days we moved snow, then fed cattle and then moved more snow. It was a long winter.”

One day, ranchers will be telling similar stories about this winter.

So spare a kind thought for cattlemen. Better yet, buy a steak or two.