The cost of rebuilding

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 2:09 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Cattle auctions are seeing records in the number of cattle coming through. While the income is nice for farmers, numbers aren’t high because things are good.

The more cattle sold, the more income at one time. The more you make at the auction, the more you pay in taxes.

Many are selling their cattle because they have to, so they’re looking for financial relief to help them survive and rebuild.

While cattle wait for hay, their ranchers are waiting to see how many of them they can keep. The hay shortage caused by the drought is forcing many ranchers to sell some of their cattle. But, that’s not just to get through the finances of THIS year. Rebuilding or even the income from this year could have financial affects in the years to come.

In a normal year, Richard Tokach can get four bales of hay per acre. This year, it takes four acres to get one bail.

He doesn’t think he’ll have enough to get through the winter, so he’ll be selling more of his cattle.

“For us, yes it’s hard. I mean. I’ve spent my lifetime and perhaps my dad’s lifetime putting things together. So yeah, it makes a difference,” said Tokach.

For now, there’s a strong pack of cattle in the fields, but more of them will be sold compared to normal. And that’s being seen across the state.

But this may trade one financial whole for another. Ranchers must then deal with the increased income tax on the cattle and any costs that come with rebuilding in the years to come.

“Most people, at this point, are at a minimum probably trying to get rid of their livestock that need to be culled anyway. maybe you have some old animals. Maybe you have some that aren’t the best producers. Maybe just trying to lighten your load on your pastures or your feeding ground,” said Haga Kommer Accountant Kayla Ennen.

Extraordinary circumstances open some doors for recovery.

With nearly every county declared a disaster, these ranchers have the ability to defer those taxes for years.

Some can make the deferments permanent if they’re able to replace the livestock within four years.

Richard, like many others, aren’t sure how many cattle they’ll have to sell before the end of the year.

Richard said that’s dependent on the rain.

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