FARGO, North Dakota — It’s no secret that cattle producers have faced quite the turbulent year, forcing them to make tough decisions .
Jeff Schafer, president of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, commended cattle producers and ranchers for their perseverance while speaking at this year’s North Dakota Stockmen's Association Convention, held in Fargo, North Dakota, Sept. 23-25.
“Several producers, especially in that Rugby country, had to make some tough decisions early on. There was just not any feed, any grass, and the culling started early,” Schafer said on Sept. 24.
Schafer’s first year in production agriculture was in 1988, another notorious year for the region in terms of drought. He has been seeing similarities between ‘88 and this year. A particular pasture of his never became green in 1988 due to the lack of rainfall, and therefore was not grazed. The pasture was again not grazable this year, for the first time since the summer of ‘88.
“I do remember that year very well,” Schafer said.
Don Schiefelbein, a Minnesota rancher who is president-elect of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, also attended the Stockmen’s Convention. He has seen first-hand the struggles cattlemen and women are facing.
Schiefelbein has seen a varied response in terms of early culling and overall culling decisions. He believes with a good cattle market on the horizon, ranchers are doing everything they can to keep a hold of their cattle and not downsize their herd. Schafer has not yet made any downsizes to his own herd, but said he will be getting rid of his open cows after they are ultrasounded.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum also spoke at the Stockmen’s convention and applauded the association for breaking their membership record by 116 members. In addition, he praised the cattlemen and women who have faced adversity over this past year, noting it had not been easy.