Grand River Roundup

Our heifers started calving on Monday, and, as usual, the weather turned cold and windy when winter returned.

Our heifers started calving on Monday, and, as usual, the weather turned cold and windy when winter returned. It snowed a little on Monday, but none of it stuck around. It snowed pretty hard on Wednesday and kept it up through Sunday. The ground is covered with snow again and it is cold and miserable, but at least we got some moisture.

The wind was howling on Monday and that’s probably what caused our electricity to blink off and on 15 or 20 times that morning until it shut off altogether just before noon. Grand Electric got it going again later that afternoon, but I was a little late sending my column off because of the outage.

Most of Harding County drove to Faith Tuesday evening to watch the Harding County Ranchers play the Lemmon Cowboys in the regional tournament. It was an exciting game! Harding County beat Lemmon 58-38 and the Ranchers will be going to the state basketball tournament in Aberdeen this week.

Both Sen. Ryan Maher and Rep. Sam Marty called me Wednesday morning to see if I could attend the TB meeting in Buffalo for them Thursday night. This was the last week of the 2017 legislative session and they were working on the budget which has to be passed before the session was over on Friday. South Dakota didn’t have as much revenue coming in as was expected, so they had to figure out where to make cuts in spending because our constitution requires that the legislature balances the budget every year.

Slim Buttes Lutheran had Lenten services Wednesday evening beginning with a soup and sandwich supper. The snow packed on the road, making a pretty slippery drive back to the ranch after church.

The roads have been terrible all week. I had to go to Bowman to take my car to the Ford dealer to get a recall fixed on Thursday and Highway 79 was horribly icy from the ranch all the way to Reeder. The road improved between Reeder and Bowman, but it was still scary.

Highway 85 was pretty good shape between Bowman and Buffalo when I headed south to attend the TB meeting the South Dakota Stockgrowers and Harding County Stockgrowers put on Thursday evening at the Harding County school gym. A huge crowd came to hear the State Veterinarian Dr. Dustin Oedekoven explain what is happening after Bovine Tuberculosis was found in some cows from Harding County. The ranchers where the cattle came from have been guaranteed, along with all the contact herds and neighbors who share fence lines. Thirteen herds have been guaranteed and need to be tested. The cattle have to be tested twice, with 60 days between the herd tests.

So far the veterinarians haven’t been able to find where the TB came from, but it can be carried by any warm-blooded animal, humans included. In other states, Bovine Tuberculosis has been traced to deer and Game Fish and Parks has been asked to test the deer population in Harding County, but the last we heard was that GF&P didn’t plan to test until hunting season this fall. Minnesota’s TB outbreak came from deer and they finally solved the problem by killing all the deer in two counties. Michigan had the same problem several years ago, but they refused to eliminate the deer and producers in Michigan are still dealing with TB because of it.

Several people have called me to get phone numbers to call to get the deer tested earlier and to try to get more veterinarians to speed up the testing process. Gov. Daugaard’s office number is 605-773-3212, the number for GF&P is 605-773-3387, and the Animal Industry Board’s office number is 605-773-3321 if you have any questions for Dr. Oedekoven.

The roads were still bad Friday morning when a semi hit ice south of Buffalo and rolled into the ditch, killing the passenger and injuring the driver. Taz left for a rodeo in Austin, Texas early Friday morning over those icy roads. Taz and his traveling buddies were able to navigate the icy roads and got there safely.

It snowed on Saturday and Sunday and the roads were still terrible here. We all went to church in Reva Sunday morning and I got our car stuck in the parking lot at church. Getting stuck isn’t much fun, but Ruth Burkhalter wrecked her car that morning when she hit ice coming up Highway 79 on the south end of the Slim Buttes. Thank God she wasn’t hurt, but she was pretty shuck up! Sunday afternoon Bryce drove back to college in Chadron after Spring Break and she said that by the time she got to the Black Hills the roads were good. Casey went to Reva to pick up Taz about 3:00 a.m. Monday on his way back from the rodeo in Texas, but I haven’t had a chance to ask him about the road conditions they encountered on the way home.

Betty Olson is a South Dakota rancher and state legislator for District 28.