MENOKEN, N.D. (KXNET) —It might not be fun for some, but it’s time to prepare for the next season here in the state. October is right around the corner, which means winter will soon be upon us. When it comes down to farming in general, the soil, livestock, crops, wildlife and, of course, people play a major role, but what about the winter season?
During this season, it’s obviously cold, and it can come with some unbearable winds at times, making an uncomfortable living environment for practically every resource. KX News met with Dustin Krueger at Menoken Farm where they’re holding a conference teaching folks how to get the most out of those windy conditions.
A windbreak, also known as “wind fences,” are usually made up of three or more rows of trees or shrubs in an open field, and are planted in a specific way to provide shelter from the wind to protect livestock from windy and cold conditions, soil from an erosion and much more.
“We want to protect resources and a big resource in North Dakota is soil and with it blowing away in our winds and stuff like that, so we establish these field windbreaks around the fields and stuff like that to protect that resource,” says North Dakota’s Conservation District Employees Association President Dustin Krueger.
Windbreaks also help reduce animal stress and food consumption in livestock that can lead to weight gain or weight loss, and they reduce wind speeds up to 90 percent. Krueger says, “We get a lot of harsh winds, with that is our wind shield down a faster within the cold and during the winter, so if we have those shelter belts there, it reserves our heat in that area.”
The last conference on windbreaks was held by Dustin and his team back in 2018 and since then, he says they’re doing way more than teaching how to build a windbreak to help farmers.
“We also worry about other resources whether it’s water quality, habitat, anything like that so we are doing conservations throughout North Dakota,” Krueger further explains. “also it’s other resources not just wind, but this workshop is focused on established windbreaks and just doing them correctly, so we’re not taking a step backwards in trying to protect those resources.”
Krueger says they invited 15 employees from South Dakota’s conservation district and 53 from North Dakota, and they all have the same goal in common: To keep their agriculture safe throughout the upcoming winter season.