Calving season a challenge for area farmers and ranchers

A winter that started early that doesn't seem to know when to say goodbye.

A cow and calf just hours before the blizzard hit the Lisbon, North Dakota, area on Tuesday, April 4, 2023. Farmers have been working overtime this winter to clear corrals and barnyards of heavy snow as calving gets into full swing.

LISBON, N.D. — Barnyards are full and rural roads have become tunnels of snow. Those are just a few challenges for farmers in the region this winter.

To top it off, many farmers and ranchers have cows calving and this current storm adds to an already miserable winter.

"Trying to get the corrals cleaned up," Steve Johnson of Lisbon told WDAY News.

At the J&K Land and Cattle Ranch west of Lisbon, it has been day after day of clearing snow.

"There's no place to put it, we haven't had any melting," Johnson said.


With one storm following another, farmers are trying to make way for new calves coming into the world.

"It seems like the snow doesn't go away. We pile it, we move it, there just isn't any place to put it anymore," Johnson said.

Johnson and his family have about 60-head of Angus. A handful of calves have already arrived with a few more expected to come anytime.

"It's going to be a tough one," Johnson said.

Johnson lives a few miles from the ranch, so he said to be safe, he would pack his bags and be next to the livestock tonight.

"I am camping out tonight, Kevin. I am staying at the farm so I can go out and check," Johnson said.

Around Lisbon and elsewhere, farmers have never seen a snow-pack like this. Nothing has melted this winter. And near Henning, Minnesota on Tuesday, April 4, BJ Farms was working around the clock to keep the new Red Angus calves healthy as more are expected to arrive in the coming days.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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