Rain and snow bring mixed emotions from farmers and producers

The rain and snow is a welcome sight for farmers and producers in the area. But it brings with it it’s own set of challenges.
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 4:38 PM CST
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SALEM, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The rain and now snow that southeastern South Dakota has seen has brought a wave of moisture to truly kick off winter. It’s a welcome sight for farmers and producers in the area, as they continue to battle the ongoing drought. But it brings with it it’s own set of challenges.

More than 90 percent of South Dakota continues to deal with at least a moderate drought, according to the latest drought monitors. Some areas in the southern part of the state are extremely dry, which is why those like Andrew Streff are more than thrilled for the wet weather.

“It is nice to see that it actually can rain or snow for us here. We’d prefer it during the spring or summer, but even stuff like this will help us a little bit.” Streff said.

Even though the window to absorb some of that rain was short before temperatures dropped, Streff said it’s already boosted the confidence of some headed into next year. But what isn’t going to help is the drop in temperatures on the way.

“When it was raining yesterday, from what I could tell, we were actually soaking it into the ground a little bit. It helped that we’d been above freezing for the most part the last couple of days. So I think we are getting some really good benefits out of this moisture,” Streff said. “Now going into next week when they’re talking single digit temperatures, then you could have a different conversation about whether snow and all of that will benefit us.”

That colder weather is especially concerning for livestock producers in the area. Those like Adam Eichacker with Eichacker Simmentals said they’ll need to make sure their herds stay dry and out of the wind next week, but they’re ready for it.

“It’s one thing to get moisture this time of year. But this time it gets the animals wet, they get wet hide and wet hair. Then the cold temps is what has kind of got us concerned. But to be honest with you, we’ve definitely handled a lot worse,” Eichacker said. “We kind of know what to do; get cattle by some shelterbelts, just so the cows can have some protection.”

But Eichacker said still, they know even getting some relief from the drought out of this cycle of storms is better than nothing.

“We’re not going to compain about the moisture, especially with with what we’ve been dealing with the last two years.” Eichacker said.