Hometown Farmer: Drought Burns Livestock Industry
By Olivia Wilmsen
(GAYVILLE, SD) – We’ve heard time and time again how this summer’s drought affected our crops here in Siouxland. Now we get a deeper look into how the heat burned the livestock industry.
Jim Petrik runs a farm in Gayville, South Dakota where he raises pigs and cows and sells breeder hogs to other pork producers. He explained how the dry conditions have caused feed prices to spike and how that’s making a difference on the pigs to come.
“We just absolutely turned the corner and went from the wettest probably 18-month stretch that we’ve ever had here on the farm to absolutely the driest 18-month stretch anybody’s ever seen,” said Jim Petrik of Petrik Farms.
He was referring to the change from the flood of 2011 to this summer’s drought which was a drastic shift for farmers like him.
“I think at our farm here we’re under 10 inches of precipitation in the last 16 months which is unbelievable, way drier even in the 1930’s,” said Petrik.
One of the main parts of Jim’s farm is supplying breeding stock to other pork producers throughout the Midwest. The recent weather patterns have put a damper on that bit of his business.
“This feed costs where they’re at right now just made for an extraordinarily challenging environment,” said Petrik. “Particularly, we have some customers that are livestock only that don’t raise any of their own feed. And it’s really caused them to have some pretty dramatic losses as far as where they’re at economically.”