SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — This stretch of frigid weather impacts the lives of many people, including farmers around the Ozarks.
“A couple of different things that you need to prepare whenever you have this frigid cold coming in, the appearance of a pretty big snowstorm, a lot of times people have the plan to feed extra,” said Kevin Johansen, a farmer in Lebanon, Missouri.
While many people may escape the cold while working inside, those working on a farm will have to brave the elements outside.
A farmer needs to be aware of many factors during these harsh weather conditions, such as being mindful of their crops, taking care of livestock and being prepared for a potential halt in income.
“Sometimes you might see your neighbor that’s a producer that looks like they’ve been up for 36 hours, and probably because they’ve been up for 36 hours taking care of livestock,” Johansen said.
Farmers and ranchers, according to Johansen, are often out in the middle of the night checking on the well-being of livestock, especially now, when several 2021 offspring are being born.
“You might see some pictures of people bringing calves or other offspring into the house to get them some extra warm before they go back out to the herd,” said Johansen, “just like when it’s really hot when it’s really cold, they can get dehydrated just as fast as they would on 100-degree day.”
Johansen said farmers often use trees as a windbreak and shelter for livestock and make sure they get warm food.
“Just like us people who get a hot meal a feel better on a cold day, livestock are the same way,” said Johansen. “To have that internal temperature so they can make it through a cold day.”
And even though some projects need to be put on hold during these harsh weather conditions, Johansen said farmers usually budget for a snowstorm or freezing weather before winter.
“It does halt any projects potentially, but right now, it’s keeping everything maintained and the health of the herd or your flock in good shape,” said Johansen.