A bittersweet day

By Megan Overby, NDFB Northeast Field Representative

If you’ve read my previous My NDFB Life posts, you probably have a good idea of what I’m going to talk about. You guessed it… cattle! I honestly couldn’t find a better topic to talk about, though. When I’m not busy working with NDFB members, you can usually find me out with the cows and calves.

We’ve kept plenty busy this winter with feeding cattle, bedding, and moving snow. Our most recent endeavor was shipping and selling feeder calves. Needless to say, it was a big week for us. However, it’s always bittersweet to see the trucks go down the road.

That feeling never fades; not even after 20+ years. You truly get to know each and every calf from the day they were born until now. Each group is special to us, and this feeder calf crop sure got lots of extra love and labor. Mother Nature put us through the wringer last April as these calves hit the ground. It was a 24/7 job to keep them warm, dry, and alive. There is nothing better than seeing your stock come full circle and thrive in the feedlot.

One last look as the feeder calves leave the yard on the semis.

For most ranchers, payday comes once a year. Nearly one year’s worth of work flashes before our eyes in a matter of minutes. It is nerve wracking sitting in the sale barn waiting for your calves to come through the ring. “Did the right buyers show up? Do the calves look good? What will they weigh up at? What is the cattle market doing today?” Those are just a few of the many thoughts running through my mind on sale day.

Thankfully, sale day was good to us. We are especially grateful for the more favorable cattle markets this year. On average, our feeder calves sold for $200-to-$300 more per head compared to the previous year. Fingers crossed the markets remain strong and steady for a while.

One of the many snowy days feeding calves this winter.

Next on the list at the Overby Ranch is calving. Hopefully we won’t start calving until April 1. Of course, there are always a few cows who arrive early to the calving party. We are praying for better weather from here on out. I’m not sure there are too many places left (if at all) to pile snow. I truly feel for all the ranchers battling the cold and snowy calving conditions this past month.

A flashback to last year’s calving season.

Hang in there; we got this. Greener pastures are on the way!


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