Ice, Wind and Snow Drifts: How Farmers Carry On

SnowIt’s another chilly day in Kansas! As I drove to Garnett from Ottawa this morning to go to work, my car told me it was -3 degrees outside. Brrr… I was thinking of how much I would enjoy being back in Tempe, AZ for the Insight Bowl cheering on the Cyclones and not having to wear a jacket. The worst part is that it is much colder in other areas around the nation. I heard earlier this week the wind-chill in North Dakota was around -52 degrees!

How do farmers and ranchers care for animals in weather like this? I must say, I dread the moment my puppy stands at the door and paws at her leash to be taken outside on days like this. I have it easy. Within five minutes, Penny does her business and is running to get back inside and I trail closely behind.

Farmers don’t have it so easy and I don’t hear them complaining. In fact, Kansas State University Extension Agent, Glenn Brunkow, posted the following on Facebook this afternoon: “Even with terrible conditions [I] still love animal agriculture and feeding the world. The current conditions just make it more challenging!” Brunkow also added, “We have brought all the ewes that might lamb into the barn. We lined the barn with tarps, filled the pens with straw and each pen has a heat lamp.”

It seems silly to think that I complain about the cold when the only times I am outside, in weather like today is to and from my car and those very brief moments to take my dog out.

Northwest Iowa farmer, Mike Ver Steeg, tweeted today “Warmed up to -4 degrees 2day. Not fit for man, beast or machine outside. But man & machine are out making sure beast stay warm.”

Jodi Termine, Director of Industry Relations for the Kansas Pork Association, reported that “Pork producers are pretty lucky! We have our animals indoors and that allows us to keep them warm when the temps outside are frigid. Also, we are thankful for the technology that all ag producers have at their fingertips.  Remember, contemporary farming methods (based on science and good animal husbandry) make us better stewards of the land and livestock!”

Farmers and ranchers truly are stewards of the land and even in this below zero weather they continue to keep their animals comfortable. Farming isn’t an easy job but I sure am thankful for those who do it! I encourage you to thank and pay tribute to America’s farmers, ranchers and their families who produce the food for our tables each and every day. Here’s to you!

No Snow Day For Farmers: http://www.nebraska.tv/Global/story.asp?S=11787839
Weather creates new challenges on farm: http://www.agrinews-pubs.com/rural-voices/default.asp?bid=DC6D1671EF2895166035B05894D88D8E3CFC3EA4FE07E200
Through Snow Drifts: http://www.journalstar.com/news/local/article_973636fa-0098-11df-837c-001cc4c03286.html?mode=story
Iowa Farm Bureau: http://iowafarmbureau.wordpress.com/

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