July 9

Baling the ditch

The state would have to mow the ditches before winter if it were not for the needs of local ranchers to feed their cattle in the winter. That’s how a cooperative effort is formed between the state and local land owners. The state doesn’t have to mow the snow-catching drift-forming grasses in the ditch, and the rancher can harvest the ditch for his cattle.  It’s a win win and typical of the cooperative culture of North Dakotans who work together, especially to defeat the common enemy of winter.

Across the way, another cooperative effort is underway. The local electric coop is building a wind farm, renting the land from the local farmers to generate electricity from the wind.  The electricity is shipped to eastern states who don’t give a thought about who supplied the electricity or where it came from.  It came from here.  And obviously more is about to come to homes in the east because more turbines are about to be built.  They’re mammoth towers on the prairie as is evidenced by the pickup truck below one of them, driving past the soon-to-be erected tower stems.

May 25

Calves on the alert

They’re getting old enough to almost take care of themselves. These calves east of Wilton are part of the spring crop of calves.  They’re still pretty defenseless, but they’re smart enough to pay attention to a photographer lurking in a nearby ditch.

The USDA says that the value of North Dakota’s cattle herds is $705,903,000. That’s a lotta bucks in those calves!  There are a lotta cattle out there and the good news is, according to the USDA, cattle prices are on track to be as high or higher than they were in 2008 and 2007 which were record years.

That means these little guys are worth a lot of money to their owner/producer.  To make the good news better is the weather has been good enough to provide good feed, too.  I’m happy that livestock producers are seeing a good turn around in their business.  If you’re a cattle producer this year, how are things for you?