Greetings from Sioux Falls, SD! I’m joining you today from the Sioux Empire Farm Show, where my family has consignments in the Limousin bull and female show and sale. And, if you didn’t get the “barn crud” from the National Western Stock Show in Denver, CO, or the Black Hills Stock Show in Rapid City, SD, you’re certainly going to get it here. The barn is as dusty and dry as the drought that is ravaging the countryside.
In conversations with folks at the sale, there is one common concern among many of them -- the drought. Will we get enough snow cover in the next couple of months to help the pastures green up this spring? Will we get enough spring showers to sustain our grass resources for haying and grazing this summer? Is anybody still in the cattle business? Will there be any commercial cattlemen at the sale today that even need bulls anymore, or did everyone sell off some cows while the markets were so hot last fall?
If you’re in the beef business, you can’t help but worry a little bit. After all, we don’t have an umbrella of government payments to protect us, and we certainly can’t protect every critter on the place from lightning, mud, blizzards and all the other gifts from Mother Nature that we have zero control over.
But, worrying will only get you so far in life. Instead, I’m trying to think optimistically. Many bull sales across the country are reporting hot turnouts with sky-high sale averages. Consumer demand for beef continues to grow and my generation’s enthusiasm for the business continues to grow, as well. After all, being a cowboy is still a glamorous occupation for many of us, with the appeal of being able to work the land, care for animals, and be out in wide-open spaces with the company of our dogs, horses and family members.
Whether it’s worrying about the markets or the weather, we can negate this feeling of dread by getting out and about this winter. Take a break from feeding cattle or calving out cows and go to a bull sale or two. There, you can visit with other folks who are going through the same challenges you are. And, instead of being worried together, you’ll visit about your shared interests in the cattle business. You’ll strengthen old friendships and build new ones. You’ll learn which sires are the hot up-and-coming bulls to use, and you’ll get to see first-hand some of the calves sired by the AI studs in the bull catalog you get in the mail. And, you’ll go home feeling refreshed and recharged that the cattle business is exactly where you need to be.
At least, that’s how I feel after I go to a bull sale. How about you? Will you be at the Sioux Empire Farm Show? If so, look me up. What other bull sales, shows or cattle events are on your calendar this winter?