And losing so many calves and bulls? Calves represent next year’s cash (it takes 12 to 18 months to reach slaughter weight) and bulls represent genetic material that may distinguish the quality of a herd from someone else’s.
“I’m 39 years old; I don’t have children. The cows are my children, and my farm is completely destroyed. Maybe it’s a sign from God to go and do something else,” Ruzicka said.
Even before the “bomb cyclone” and last week’s floods, the farm economy has been terrible, Ruzicka said. Most ranchers he knows are doing their best to break even, working 100-hour weeks and getting up every two hours to check the cows.
Nebraska Farm Bureau president Steve Nelson said that it’s too early to provide a definitive estimate of the damage but that some early estimates put ranching losses in the state at $500 million and row crops — in Nebraska, that is largely corn, soy and, to a lesser degree, wheat — at another $400 million.