Ranchers in Black Hills region deal with challenges of weather

It’s no secret that weather plays a huge role in agricultural prosperity.

For many farmers in the Midwest this year, it has rained too much, and has exposed many to financial insecurity and even bankruptcy.

Ranchers across the Black Hills region, although not as affected by the flooding, are dealing with their own set of challenges.

“With this, the flooding and the problems that have gone on in farming country, we’re seeing a lot of pressure on feeder cattle, what we raise out here in western South Dakota.” said Dave Lindblom, a Rapid City area rancher, “With that, the market has been lackluster to say the least.”

The stock and trade of ranchers is grass.

Buying it, growing it, selling it, storing it, feeding it to their cattle. As far as ranchers are concerned, this is one of the better years for grass in memory.

“Our grass out here on the ranch has been fabulous,” continued Lindblom, “I don’t even remember seeing it green the first of October, and this much feed.”

This mean less money spent on buying feed, more money taking care of other business like weathering the markets.

When agriculture does well, the economy does well. Even with relatively cooperative weather, ranchers are continuing to see the equity of their products drop, and that hurts everyone.

“We’re going to put maybe half of what we put into our pockets in 2019 that we did in 2014,” said Lindblom, “A 50% drop in a least 5 years reflects back to Main Street big time.”

So, while weather has traditionally played a huge role in determining agricultural prosperity, lots of other factors are starting to compete with weather for importance. That means when the weather does not cooperate, it hits even harder these days.

That’s not stopping Dave Lindblom.

“I’m upbeat. I think optimism has got to carry the day in this business.”

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News