Britton area farmer & rancher keeping perspective during drought

Local News

NEAR BRITTON, S.D. (KELO) — The drought is just one of the many challenges farmers and ranchers can face.

Kurt Zuehlke and his family have cattle and crops.

Over the years, they’ve been battling weather extremes.

Kurt Zuehlke only got about 45 percent of his crop in last year because of flooding.

“The spring of 2020 we saw extreme flooding, just water standing like we haven’t seen for a really long time,” Farmer and rancher Kurt Zuehlke said.

But the drought means it’s a different story this year.

“Probably the biggest thing that’s hurting around here is probably the pasture and the stock dam and dugout situation,” Zuehlke said.

Zuehlke took KELOLAND News to one of his dugouts where the water level is down.

“There’s definitely water in there yet, but it’s starting to get kind of stagnant and your water quality starts going downhill pretty fast,” Zuehlke said.

As he works through the drought, he’s taking it day by day.

“We’ve got kind of bigger issues to worry about,” Zuehlke said.

In 2019, Zuehlke’s son Trevor was injured in a football game.

“He suffered a traumatic brain injury. He’s very disabled so we’re kind of dealing with that too,” Zuehlke said.

Right now the main priority in life is helping Trevor recover.

“You’re dealing with several years of low prices. We had the flooding. Flooding is just as stressful or more stressful than drought. So that was all stressful, but that is nothing in comparison to kind of what we’ve been dealing with when you see a family member struggle like he has,” Zuehlke said.

That’s why he keeping things in perspective.

Zuehlke says his son is working hard on different therapies and he has quite the support team.

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