The blizzard may have ended a few days ago, but the losses stemming from the storm are still adding up.
“If this is the drought buster event and we can get into a weather pattern where we’re starting to get moisture again, maybe long term it’s a benefit, but in the short term here, I know that it’s gonna be some hardships out here for different ranchers,” said Daryl Lies, the president of the North Dakota Farm Bureau.
Lies says in addition to animal losses, farmers used more resources than they intended to.
“Extra feed being needed, extra bedding being needed,” said Lies. “And coming out of the drought here last year, those resources are not very plentiful. So guys are using a little bit more feedstuff than they were planning to use. Thought they were kind of on the home stretch here when the weather got nice a week and a half ago.”
He believes that it will be a while before ranchers know the true extent of the blizzard’s effect on their animals.
“Some of it’s gonna come when the snow melts and some of these snowbanks out in some of these places are 7, 8, 9, 10 feet deep,” said Lies. “We’re gonna have to see if there were cows, additional cows that maybe calved that didn’t get caught right away. That didn’t get found right away because that snow was blowing in literally, it could bury a calf in a matter of minutes.”
Lies says ranchers shouldn’t feel bad for the losses they have from the snowstorm.
“There’s ranchers out there that I know are feeling defeated,” said Lies. “They’re feeling like they failed. Every situation’s different. No one failed. One of these 10, 20, even 30-year type of events like this was, you can’t put in an annual plan to prepare for. You do the best you can. Every rancher was out there day and night, doing what they could, when they could, with what they could get to.”
Lies says on his farm they have hogs, sheep and cattle and they were fortunate to have minimal losses.