CGND | Our Pasture View – July 2022

Maria Bichler

Maria Bichler is a wife, young mother of three and owner of Bichler Simmentals in Linton, N.D. She works from home as a journalist alongside her husband, Doug, as they manage their family’s 100-year-old farm and ranching operation.

Bad things happen. And, lately, bad things have happened over and over again.

 

We all share the good; we post photos of the adorable twin lambs. Have a bumper crop of corn? We share the yield along with a photo of the towering silage pile. An inch of rain falls on our land; we take a photo of the rainbow and text it to family and friends.

 

But, too often we aren’t honest about the challenging times. With all the stress involved in production agriculture coupled with the toll that stress has on mental health, we should share and be honest regarding our setbacks. If for nothing else than to say, “You are not alone.”

At the end of June, Doug was in our rye field attempting to finish baling before the forecasted rain arrived. Mid-day, I received a call that our baler had started a fire. No one was hurt, and the fire department was on the way. The baler wasn’t totaled, and only a few bales were destroyed.

 

The following day, Doug was on the four-wheeler leading a bull toward another pen. The four-wheeler hit a rut in the road; somehow, the throttle became stuck on full speed ahead. Doug took the only option he could think of in the moment which was to jump off before the four-wheeler hit the fence. The four-wheeler wasn’t totaled; the fence has a gapping hole; and Doug was not seriously injured.

 

A valued herd bull, one of the good ones you are excited to use year after year, died far too soon. A few ewes have died from unpreventable injuries. A coyote attacked a day-old calf. Doug heard the attack and rushed to the calf. He drove the calf to our veterinarian, but the injuries were too extensive. The calf had to be put down.

 

If you are in a rut, whether that be in the field or in your personal life, know you are not alone. Hurdles can seem unpassable. But, when we look back, the bull is safe and secure; the baler is being fixed, and the sheep are doing well. Remember, though, there is always a way to leap to the other side. We all have bad things happen.

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