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Published March 28, 2009, 12:00 AM

Shouldering the storm

State agricultural officials are asking producers that have suffered losses due to a recent winter storm and flooding to report them to their local North Dakota State University Extension agents.

By: Beth Wischmeyer, The Dickinson Press

State agricultural officials are asking producers that have suffered losses due to a recent winter storm and flooding to report them to their local North Dakota State University Extension agents.

Beth Carlson, a veterinarian with the state’s board of animal health, said producers reporting livestock issues will allow the state to get a better handle on the situation.

“We’ve only received a few official reports but we’ve received a lot of second, third and fourth-hand reports,” Carlson said. “That’s why we’re doing this; we want to get an idea of if there is people out there that need help.”

So far, Carlson said the office has received reports in Emmons County of stranded cattle surrounded by water, but said most of the cattle have since been reached.

“With this cold weather, disposal of dead animals isn’t as much of a priority, but we want to know what kind of resources we’re going to need and if we’re going to need to be out there helping, or if it’s a smaller scale and people can take care of it locally,” she added. “In most cases there are only a few animals and producers can take care of it themselves, but this is kind of a unique situation.”

For the most part, she added, the department is looking for numbers of animal deaths, to see whether or not large-scale disposal is necessary, such as in 1997 after a storm.

Mark Archibald, who owns 7,000 cattle 10 miles south of Hettinger, said he was not able to get to his cattle the day of the blizzard.

“We double-fed the day before because we knew it was coming in,” Archibald said. “We led them into the breaks, and we knew we didn’t have a chance to see them the next day.”

Archibald said following the storm, there has been no foreseeable loss of livestock. Another storm, he added, would make calving increasingly difficult.

“The more snow you get you’re not going to have bare areas for those cows to calf,” Archibald said. “If we have another storm it’s going to wrec havoc calf crop at least in southwestern North Dakota and northwestern South Dakota.”

Producer Don Gerber, who resides a few miles east of Dickinson, said he began moving cattle Sunday preceeding Monday and Tuesday’s storm.

“I moved them around and sorted the cows and the ones that were calving I moved closer to barns,” Gerber said. “Another storm would make it more difficult. I guess all you can do is watch the forecast and try to prepare as best you can.”

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