By Rep. Kristi Noem
Easter's right around the corner, which means many families across South Dakota are busy with calving season. I particularly remember one Easter Sunday spent pulling calves in and out of the barn in the midst of a South Dakota blizzard. But with rising spring temperatures often comes new lambs, colts and calves. This means long nights with 2 a.m. trips to the barn to make sure everything's going all right.
I have a lot of memories of time spent with my dad, and time with my kids, during calving season. Although there were many late nights, early mornings and nights with no sleep whatsoever, it's an incredible experience to see new life and the hope that it provides for the upcoming season.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the calving process, it can be very time consuming and also very stressful. I remember how precarious those first few moments can be with a new calf. Regardless if it's at 4 a.m. in the barn or 3 p.m. in the pasture, it's important that mother and calf have an opportunity to bond and for the calf to get the proper nourishment to start a healthy life.
Farmers and ranchers also recognize that this process is not only important to the animals, but also important to their business. Strong and happy livestock result in a healthy herd that provides food to feed our world.
Although South Dakota farmers and ranchers are used to working long hours, I hope you take a moment to thank a farmer for all of their work and dedication to ensuring we have a safe, reliable and affordable food supply. Whether you can provide a handshake or a cup of coffee, any gesture will go a long way. I will continue to do my part on the House Agriculture Committee as we prepare for another round of Farm Bill discussions and will keep South Dakota agriculture priorities at the forefront. Assuring we have adequate livestock disaster assistance for our ranchers will be one provision I will work hard to include in the Farm Bill.
I'd like to encourage you to reach out to my office and share any stories you may have about the first time you helped with calving. I'd love to hear from you! Contact information for my offices is listed below:
Sioux Falls: 605-275-2868 / Watertown: 605-878-2868 / Aberdeen: 605-262-2862 / Rapid City: 605-791-4673 / Washington, D.C.: 202-225-2801 / Toll-Free: 1-855-225-2801