CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — As much of the country battles frigid weather, America’s ranchers are working to keep a major part of our food supply intact as temperatures in some areas drop into the single digits.
“We try to roll hay out down in the bottoms to keep them out of the wind. It’s hard on cattle, hard on people, hard on equipment,” said Kansas rancher Tate Miller
Making matters worse, according to Miller, the arctic blast hit in the middle of calving season — meaning as new calves are born, ranchers immediately transfer them to warmer shelter.
“They provide for you so you kind of got to provide for them,” said Miller.
In Iowa, Justine and Corinne Rowe are distributing hundreds of pounds of extra feed.
They said, “They will eat about 2% of their body weight in dry feed every day,” they said.
It’s the same situation in Texas, where Lubbock rancher Randy Falkenberg works to keep his herd as comfortable as possible, breaking ice to keep a water source available and providing shelter and extra feed.
“If cattle’s got feed and water and just a little protection from the wind, cattle actually like about 32 degrees,” said Falkenberg.
Mother Nature dealt a wintry blow with temperatures well below 32 degrees, but Falkenberg said there is a silver lining: dry snow versus a heavier, wet variety.
“They didn’t even look that stressed this morning at 4-degrees because they were dry,” he said.