Blue Hill Rancher Fighting Icy, Cold Conditions

Ockinga’s view this afternoon before snow replaced the freezing drizzle.

BLUE HILL – While many schools get called off for the ice and bitter colds and some folks have extra days off, one profession keeps going rain or shine or ice or snow to keep feeding the world.

Blue Hill rancher Trent Ockinga says conditions around the farms and ranches have been just as bad as most of us are seeing in town.

“If you’ve been in the roads like in town where it hasn’t been thawing as well, that’s how icy it is everywhere. Our cattle lots, our driveways, everything, our tractors are iced over. It’s just been a bear trying to get around and do everything. It doesn’t stop just because it’s icy or the weather’s bad. We still gotta get out. The cows are still hungry. It’s just been tough getting out there dealing with all this crap all winter.”

Ockinga says the bitter cold hasn’t helped work this winter season.

“All these diesel engines are a lot harder to start, and then everybody’s calving right now too. These baby calves, it’s really hard on them right now. It gets around that 10 degrees, or lower, you gotta make sure you bring them in and warm them up or get them in a good shed. It’s really tough. Guys are on night watch getting up two or three times a night and making sure everything’s okay. The drastic temperature changes too are really hard on our cows, especially calves that have been weined and are in the lot, they get sick real easy this time of year.”

Ockinga added he appreciates all the road crews helping to make the highways safer and wants everyone to take a minute to slow down on days like this.

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