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Ag in Action 2017

See us for all your ag lending needs.

We are here for you!

Farmers State Bank

423 Broadway Avenue

Denton, Montana

406-567-2226

Loan Production Office

24 Hour ATM

523W. Main • Lewistown

Memtber

FDIC

We’re Committed

to Agriculture and

the War on Weeds.

21

st

Annual

Bull Sale

— Milk River Bull Sale Consignors —

C

Bar

Angus

LLOYD,MT

1:00 p.m. • Lunch at noon

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Bear Paw Livestock • Chinook, Montana

Bulls can be viewed at Hould Feedlot in Malta.

70

Bulls

Sell

Complete Sale Information and Sale Book, Contact

:

Clayton Hofeldt • 406-945-0850

“Your Source for Bulls on the Hi-Line”

P

erformance

T

esTed

f

erTiliTy

T

esTed

U

lTrasoUnded

f

ree

d

elivery wiThin

300

miles

View videos at

www.billpelton.com,

and bid sale day by phone & live online at

www.lmaacutions.com

8

By Hunter D’Antuono |

Yellowstone Newspapers

Curled into a tight ball, wobbly legs tucked under

its small body, a black calf, mere hours old, its soft hide

still wet with birthing fluids, pokes its head up from a

pile of straw in a muddy field in the Shields Valley. An

attentive mother reaches down to lick it clean. Perhaps

not as cute as a golden retriever bouncing around on a

manicured suburban lawn, but still a heart-warming sight

nonetheless. This scene will play out 500-some times on

Stuart Dunkel’s ranch this year.

Dunkel, a 27-year-old rancher from a multigenerational

Montana family, embraced the ranching lifestyle early in

life, and hasn’t looked back. At age 15, he borrowed money

from his mother to buy 45 cows. And raising cattle is what

he’s done since.

“I love it. I just have fun,” said Dunkel, wearing a

characteristically large grin. “I play all day, I guess. It’s fun

being your own boss.”

In Big Sky Country, Dunkel is an example of how

ranching remains a cross-generational pursuit. Dunkel is

well on his way to raising a family of his own with his wife,

Rebecca, in the foothills of the Crazy Mountains up Horse

Creek Road.

One of the most trying times of any rancher’s year is

calving season.

In the height of the season, 18-20 hour workdays are

not uncommon with cows birthing around the clock. The

calves are a rancher’s top priority. They are the future.

Without a maximum healthy crop of calves to sell at

market, land leases risk default and bills may go unpaid,

putting the livelihoods of all of those on the ranch in

jeopardy. And ranchers are at the mercy of the market

price of their product. Dunkel and Myrt Woosley, a rancher

in Sedan, both recounted a dramatic swing two years ago,

when beef prices rose to well over $2 per pound and by the

next year had sunk to a $1.40.

“That check has to last an entire year,” said Woosley of

money earned from cattle sales.

Her husband Lyle’s family is seventh-generation

Montana ranchers, and the first to settle in Sedan, who

named it after their former home in Kansas when they

headed west. For four decades, Lyle and Myrt have worked

cattle together with their family in the shadow of the

Bridgers.

“Any time you see someone who is calving, if you are a

rancher, you can tell, because they look so exhausted,” said

Woosley.

One cow, two cow, black cow, red cow

Continued on page 9