Goehring urges livestock producers to brace for severe weather

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is urging North Dakota livestock producers to take precautions in the face of severe weather moving into the state.

“The National Weather Service is predicting blizzard conditions, sustained high winds and life-threatening wind chills Friday through Tuesday,” Goehring said. “Producers need to be sure their animals have shelter from the wind and access to adequate forage and water.”

Goehring and Dr. Susan Keller, the state veterinarian, said the quality of rations is as important as the quantity.

“This is the time to be feeding livestock the best forage you have,” Goehring said. “The animals need highly digestible forage due to higher energy needs. It may be necessary to supplement those rations if current feed quality is a concern.”

Keller said that while North Dakota livestock are acclimated to extremely cold conditions, it is important to provide shelter for their animals from the wind and have readily available feed close by to keep them from wandering or straying.

Goehring said producers should also be extra careful while working outside.

“The weather service is talking about wind chills capable of inducing hypothermia and frostbite in just a few minutes,” he said. “Please check for weather forecasts for your area regularly and be careful.”

As of Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service said blizzard conditions were possible Friday afternoon into Saturday. Winds chills of 50 below zero are possible Saturday night into Sunday morning and 60 below zero Sunday night into Monday morning. The weather service also said hazardous travel conditions could be expected for much of the state.