Couple has off-farm ag jobs and a growing purebred Angus dream
LISBON, N.D. -- As spring makes its deliberate appearance, a Lisbon couple is making steady progress, making a purebred Angus livestock passion into a business that their young daughters can enjoy.
LISBON, N.D. - As spring makes its deliberate appearance, a Lisbon couple is making steady progress, making a purebred Angus livestock passion into a business that their young daughters can enjoy.
"It's AI (artificial insemination) season, trying to get the grass growing and get some cows out," says Jeremy Erdmann, 41.
Jeremy and his wife Stacy, 32, live with their daughters on a 40-acre farmstead east of Lisbon and control another 15 acres on a hobby farm west of Lisbon in southeast North Dakota where Jeremy grew up. They also farm a half-section of crops and rent about 400 acres of pasture.
It's been a long winter, yes, but Stacy remembers the winter of 1997. "We grew up with it and just take every day in stride and know that some days might be a little longer to do chores than others. But we're just thankful that God helped us through, so we're here," she says. Jeremy graduated from Lisbon High School in 1996 and went right into the workforce. He is an account manager for RDO Equipment.
Stacy graduated high school in 2004 and went on for degrees in animal and range science and equine studies at North Dakota State University in 2008. She started her career as a soil conservation technician with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and then moved to a crop insurance agent position with AgCountry Farm Credit Services.
'Bit of a challenge'
On the side, the Erdmanns have gradually increased their Angus beef seedstock herd. They now have 110 cows. They calve in January and February and have a bull sale with Dale Sprunk near Chaffee, N.D., the last Friday in February at the Ransom County Fairgrounds. "Trying to get the weight gains and keeping everybody warm this winter was a bit of a challenge, but we got through it," Jeremy says.
"We'd love to make it full-time and be in the purebred Angus business or just the cattle ranching business in general," Jeremy says. "But right now with the economy and everything, it's not really allowed. So we've gotta have some off-farm income to make it work."
The Erdmanns put up some of their own feed on the rented acres and buy some alfalfa from other area ranchers. They buy silage from a neighbor who piles on their farmstead. "We just pay for it by the ton," Jeremy says. The grain market right now is "very scary, to be perfectly honest," Jeremy says. "You watch your input costs, try to do the best you can and make it through another year."
Heart and Soul
Stacy says one of the joys is "being able to raise our kids on the farm the way we grew up." "Being able to teach them all of those great responsibilities. There's so many different things they can get that will shape them as they grow up and become adults, just by living here on the farm," she says.
Daughters, Rylee, 11, and Kaylee, 8, have show calves, pigs and goats. Both are in the Heart and Soul 4-H Club, and both say they love their lives on a farm.
"Not a lot of kids get to live on a farm and get the opportunity that I get," Rylee says.
She got her first show heifer when she was 5. She says her friends in school think it's cool that she gets to go all over the country and show her animals. Her favorite show is the North Dakota State Fair in Minot. "There's a lot of people there that I get to meet and see," she says.
The Erdmanns show cattle all over the country, including the National Junior Angus Show, which is in Louisville, Ky., this year. "It's our 'lake cabin,' is what we call it, I guess," Jeremy says. "That's kind of what we do as a family."