North Dakota couple shares story of shifting to holistic ranching

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Farm Forum

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — An Ashley, N.D., couple said a shift to holistic beef ranching has helped them reduce their debt and operating costs and improved the quality of life for them and their cattle.

Cody and Deanna Sand shared their story last week at the North Dakota Grazing Lands Winter Conference in Minot, N.D., where they first heard about the simplified approach to raising livestock.

They told KXMC-TV that with their debt increasing and profit decreasing, they needed to make a change.

“I used to spend the whole summer in a tractor, putting up hay,” Cody Sand said. “So, if you buy a new piece of machinery or a bigger piece of machinery, you could get your work done faster. So you could maybe go to the lake on the weekend if you wanted to, or spend time with your kids.”

Rather than grow their operation even more, the Sands opted to sell some equipment.

“We kind of cleaned up a lot of debt by getting rid of a lot of items we didn’t need anymore, to be a little more low input,” Deanna Sand said.

Simplifying also prompted them to reduce the amount of hay and supplements fed to their cattle by changing winter grazing and calving patterns.

“We’ve noticed in the past few years that we’ve probably doubled our production on a lot of land just by giving it more rest days, having the cattle in it for a shorter period,” Deanna Sand said.