Why do we do this?

by Joey Bailey, NDFB Director of Organizational Development

It has been a difficult fall. That is an understatement!

We were dry all summer and then September came, and it rained for a month straight. Coming off three summers of drought, I had a hard time complaining about the rain. But it made it difficult to finish making hay for our cattle to eat this winter.

Many hay bales still sit in water, which has now frozen. We sell calves on Friday. The cattle market has been low and we struggled to get a decent contracted prices. So, we will end up only selling our biggest steers and backgrounding our small steers and heifers in hopes of better prices to come.

We had a snow storm in early October that dumped 15 inches of wet snow on us. Our cows were still out at pasture. We were lucky and didn’t lose any cattle, but we did lose some pregnancies due to the stress.

Joey-Fall Calving pic

As young ranchers, I sometimes catch myself thinking “We do we do this?” We don’t have weekends off, we don’t have an 8-5 workday and no matter the weather, we still must tend to the cows.

Then my husband reminds me why we do what we do. This isn’t just our way to make a living. It is the way of living we choose. We want our children to grow up and know the meaning behind hard work. We want our children to have a passion for the land and animals we raise.


This fall has been difficult. No doubt. But we are strong, and we will survive. We must find strength within the agriculture community. Events like the NDFB Foundation Night Out are a perfect opportunity to come together and provide hope for one another. I encourage you to join us on Friday evening, November 22 at Fargo Brewery Company and show your support to the agriculture community.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the farmers who are trying to finish harvesting their crops.

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