North Dakota Farm Bureau President Daryl Lies joined Good Day Dakota on Monday to discuss the impacts that the blizzard and the late snowfalls are having on our state’s Ag producers.
Lies explains that the snow is a double-edged sword because while a good portion of the state badly needs the moisture, there have been losses in calving and delays in planting.
“Time will ultimately tell Josh but in the short term for some of them, it’s probably not going to offset it. Long term, if this storm proves to be what, you know, some of the older generations tell us is that drought buster type of a storm, then in the long term, I think that will but you know the short term dealing with some of the losses that we’re seeing out here, especially by the ranchers, calves and even some reports of I’m hearing of some cow losses that just the amount of wind that this snow was driven by burying some of those animals, especially in western North Dakota, you know, they’re in the heart of their cabin right now. And as far as grain production, you know, the moisture was much needed in western North Dakota, a little bit of planting had taken place probably in the southwest, not a whole lot of planting. So it depends on how this melts, it gets out of the way and allows for timely planting of crops coming forward.” said Lies.
Lies farms hogs, sheep, and cattle in the town of Douglas which is 35 miles South West of Minot, near the McClean County Ward County line.
“It created challenges for us. We’re fortunate we’re in between our calving, we had a few early calves, most of ours won’t calve until somewhere around May, beginning of June. So so we’re okay there, where we saw our challenges was getting feed, getting bed into the right places during the storm. You know, we have some finishing cattle that we would get, we had to get creative while we got the feed to them. Snowbanks, as you see right there now in front of our sal pens. And that actually is also the way we get to our finishing cattle at that snowbank was about eight to 10 feet for about 40-50 yards. And we’re not unique in that. But we were very fortunate in that our hogs are under, under a barn and a confinement system. Our sheep were able to get under one roof. But we had to move some things around, we had to put some animals together that we normally wouldn’t put together just to make room for the cows to get them up with the ones that do have calves for some protection.” explained Lies.
Lies told KX News that many ranchers around the state, especially in the northern part of central and western North Dakota, may not know their full losses for some time.
“I’ve talked to a few more since you and I talked yesterday, Josh, and until the snow melts and the deep banks melt the way they’re not going to have an accurate number on their losses. There’s anywhere from they know, right now some five 10%, even maybe 15% of the calves they had on the ground. And they’re just worried what they’re going to find, even though they spent almost 24 hours a day with these cattle, he just couldn’t keep up with the storm,” said Lies.
Supply chain issues on top of the blizzard are creating a unique set of challenges for Ag producers this year.
“Time will truly tell if this is going to be a net positive at the end of the day or if it’s just more of a negative but we’re hopeful. We’re very hopeful farmers and ranchers are very resilient,” explained Lies.