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Idaho ranchers, still ranching

By: Jake Putnam
Published in Video on  May 11, 2020

Weiser--Northwest of Weiser Bruce Winegar is still ranching. For more than a hundred years ranchers have branded cattle before sending them to the summer range. Despite COVID-19 and a worldwide pandemic, cattlemen are still ranching.

"I'm Bruce Winegar, we raise cattle under Bruce Winegar Cattle and we have been doing it forever. We're branding our first-calf heifers. We have calved out 65 first-calf heifers and we just brought them in and we're going to brand them so we can put them up on the mountain," added the rancher.

And then...

"They need to be branded and marked so that neighbors know who they belong to if they happen to end up in their corrals," said Winegar.

Is the cattle market a concern this year?

"You know, I follow the market. I have a neighbor that follows the market that follows it a lot, buys, sells, trade and tells me all the bad news that's going on. We still have the cattle, we still have the same cattle we have had for 40 years in this area and they will be for sale this fall. But the way the market is, it's not very favorable for us," said Winegar.

Is there a shortage of beef?

"I don't know the percentages and all that stuff. I do know that there is plenty of beef in the slaughterhouses in this country and they're going crazy to keep up, butchering. The little privates can't keep up, they're running three shifts to keep up to provide hamburger. You can buy hamburger anywhere you want. So I don't understand, its kind of a false thing telling people there's a shortage," said Winegar.

Are US ranchers producing enough beef to meet the needs of America?

"And if they would let us, We'd produce more. The only reason we don't produce more is because of the regulations, The BLM, Environmentalists trying to kick the ranchers out of the country. Even on private ground, they're giving us trouble," said Winegar.

Are there special challenges this season?

"It's ranching and that's what we do. We have highs and lows in the market and we weather the storm and if we can sell on a high its a good day," said Winegar.

And in decades never has ranching been so important?

"Yea, I agree with that for sure, and the ranchers are doing a much better job. Ranchers handle the cattle better, they are conscientious of the vaccines and the antibiotics and making sure the product placed in front of the consumer is a good product," said Winegar.

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