BEEF Daily

Some Winter Musings From The Sioux Empire Farm Show

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Attend a bull sale or two and recharge your enthusiasm for the cattle business.

Greetings from Sioux Falls, SD! I’m joining you today from the Sioux Empire Farm Show, where my family has consignments in the Limousin bull and female show and sale. And, if you didn’t get the “barn crud” from the National Western Stock Show in Denver, CO, or the Black Hills Stock Show in Rapid City, SD, you’re certainly going to get it here. The barn is as dusty and dry as the drought that is ravaging the countryside.

In conversations with folks at the sale, there is one common concern among many of them -- the drought. Will we get enough snow cover in the next couple of months to help the pastures green up this spring? Will we get enough spring showers to sustain our grass resources for haying and grazing this summer? Is anybody still in the cattle business? Will there be any commercial cattlemen at the sale today that even need bulls anymore, or did everyone sell off some cows while the markets were so hot last fall?

If you’re in the beef business, you can’t help but worry a little bit. After all, we don’t have an umbrella of government payments to protect us, and we certainly can’t protect every critter on the place from lightning, mud, blizzards and all the other gifts from Mother Nature that we have zero control over.

But, worrying will only get you so far in life. Instead, I’m trying to think optimistically. Many bull sales across the country are reporting hot turnouts with sky-high sale averages. Consumer demand for beef continues to grow and my generation’s enthusiasm for the business continues to grow, as well. After all, being a cowboy is still a glamorous occupation for many of us, with the appeal of being able to work the land, care for animals, and be out in wide-open spaces with the company of our dogs, horses and family members.

Whether it’s worrying about the markets or the weather, we can negate this feeling of dread by getting out and about this winter. Take a break from feeding cattle or calving out cows and go to a bull sale or two. There, you can visit with other folks who are going through the same challenges you are. And, instead of being worried together, you’ll visit about your shared interests in the cattle business. You’ll strengthen old friendships and build new ones. You’ll learn which sires are the hot up-and-coming bulls to use, and you’ll get to see first-hand some of the calves sired by the AI studs in the bull catalog you get in the mail. And, you’ll go home feeling refreshed and recharged that the cattle business is exactly where you need to be.

At least, that’s how I feel after I go to a bull sale. How about you? Will you be at the Sioux Empire Farm Show? If so, look me up. What other bull sales, shows or cattle events are on your calendar this winter?

Discuss this Blog Entry 4

Jim Vietheer/ HAVE Angus California (not verified)
on Jan 24, 2013

Looking forward to a good sale Saturday at The Red Bluff Bull Sale, Great set of Halter and Range ready bulls brought by some of the west's leading seed stock producers. Some rain yesterday helping to make buyers optimistic about winter season out west.

W.E. (not verified)
on Jan 24, 2013

Amanda, you have the attention of many young farmers. Please allow me to share with you and with them some concerns from the older generation.
A month ago, on Christmas day, a blizzard struck our farm, bringing about a foot of snow, an inch of moisture. Still, we ended 2012 with a twenty-inch deficit of moisture, threatening to close the Mississippi River near Thebes, Illinois to barge traffic. A heavy rain brought floods to our creek bottom fields on January 13, but much of the rain ran off into nearby creeks and rivers rather than penetrating the deep-frozen soil, much of which has been producing crops using artificial fertilizers non-stop since the end of World War II. The threat of continuing drought is a major concern even here where the big rivers are once again flowing high. It is time for us to pay attention to what happened during the 1930s. A very good documentary of that era, showing many photographs of the consequences of heedless farming, has recently aired. What a long dry sorrow, what a shame, and what a lesson for us all. Ken Burns has recorded the words, voices and the faces of several elderly people who had lived through it as children in the region called No Man’s Land of Oklahoma, Texas, and eastern Colorado. Historians and writers also contributed their thoughts.
As I again watched the documentary here, I cobbled together the following phrases and sentences from it:
It was a decade long natural catastrophe of biblical proportions, when thousands of farmers seeking easy money, encouraged by their government, plowed up America’s native grasslands to grow wheat. When the soil they had counted on to provide a living turned against them with a lethal vengeance bewildered families moved out in droves. It was the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, when the irresistible promise of easy money and the heedless actions of farmers resulted in a it’s a classic example of people pushing too hard against nature and nature pushing back.
The Dust Bowl belongs at the top with three, four, or five other ecological disasters mankind has ever created, an event so monumental that people could not ignore it.

Neal (not verified)
on Jan 24, 2013

the barn crud is as good as a flu shot. bull sales here are aprox. 2000\hd more than last year. winter is great for livestock but no moisture for spring. hay prices are more than double last year. looking forward to spring and calving. have a great day. neal

Juanita Reed-Boniface (not verified)
on Jan 24, 2013

No bull sales on my schedule, but we will be marketing our spring calves in February. Optimistic is the middle name of cattle people!! We're always looking ahead to better days and know they are ahead!! even if it takes a year or two!

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”

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Amanda Radke

A fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell, SD, Amanda grew up on a purebred Limousin cattle operation in which she and husband Tyler are active. She graduated with a degree in agriculture journalism...

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