Weather will always be on the mind 

Cows graze a field in northeast Wyoming. (Photo courtesy of University of Wyoming Extension.)

It is 2024. And the older you get the years seem to go faster. For a lot of us it is a time to think what we want to accomplish. 

The future for the cattle business and farming is fairly unpredictable. We can make big plans but Mother Nature or rainfall has a lot to do with our success. Last year was an extreme year for our area. After coming through a drought the year before it changed to the first part of last year we received much needed rain but then by August we wondered if it was going to rain again. 

"Just A Scoopful" - Jerry Nine
“Just A Scoopful” – Jerry Nine

For most of us farming in northwest Oklahoma and the Panhandle it is high risk at the cost to put in a crop and wondering if it will rain enough to get anything in return. Some planted wheat in hopes of rain while others waited. Then fortunately it started raining again. 

And thank the Lord our last wet spell was not snow or it would have been 3 feet deep. A neighbor said he had received 36.5 inches of rain which is a little over 3 feet for those of you that struggle with math. Unheard of for our area. I asked Siri what the annual rainfall was for Laverne, Oklahoma, and she said 24 inches. I’m thinking she should visit more ofte—I thought it was 16 to 20 inches.  

The cattle market has been very good but has also had big swings in price. After falling off our highs in a big way there is a lot of variance in what cattlemen think. You hear some say they think it will bounce back in a couple of months while others want to be negative. 

I get amused at cattlemen who are often so persuaded by the futures. When we are going up, there is a group that thinks the sky is the limit. But when we are going down, some think we will have to pay someone to take our cattle.  

The other day I was in a restaurant and a mother and her small son were in the booth next to me. The little boy kept making faces at me, which didn’t bother me. But after about 15 minutes of him making faces I said, ” When I was young, my mother told me that if I made an ugly face that it might stick like that and be that way forever.” The little boy said, “Well looks like your mom was right.” 

In the Quick Stop the other day there was a couple sitting in the next booth. They appeared to be in their 80s. She said, “You only hear what you want to hear.” He said, “Yes, I would love a cold beer.” 

Editor’s note: The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not represent the view of High Plains Journal. Jerry Nine, Woodward, Oklahoma, is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family’s ranch near Slapout, Oklahoma