South Dakota rancher shares experience working in dangerously cold temperatures

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 10:16 AM CST
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FREDERICK, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Eric Sumption is a rancher in Frederick, SD in Brown County. He owns and operates Sumption Farms with his four brothers and a couple of nephews. The family also hires a couple people to help.

He said they prepare for the extremely cold temperatures before winter even starts. They check the water supply for the cattle and build bedding. The bedding thaws the ground underneath the animals, and they get natural heat from the ground to keep them warm throughout the cold months.

Sumption said a couple of the biggest concerns when the temperatures drop extremely low, like they have been the past week, is to keep the feed in front of the cattle and get the newborns to a warm environment. Calving season is about to start for the Sumption family, but some babies are already being born. He said they’re born outside, and the family has to get them into a heated barn to make sure they’re okay. The calves only stay in there for so long because of new babies being born, but Eric said the cattle can endure cold temperatures. It’s the wind that can really cause harm. His family keeps an eye on the animals’ ears to make sure they’re not freezing.

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