Bedford County farmers adjust routines to battle cold weather

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) The cold weather effects are far reaching. In our area, farmers are working through tough conditions that could impact their products long-term.

In Bedford County alone, there are over 1,400 farms covering 200,000 acres of land. Taking precautions in cold weather is critical for later on in the year.

Glen Witt, a local beef cattle farmer, knows this well.

“It's a two hood day. You need two hoods,” said Witt. “One to hold the other one on and one to keep the cold air out.”

But when you work on a farm, it takes a little bit more than two hoods to fight the cold.

From beef cattle farmers to dairy farmers, the concerns are the same: water for the animals.

Barry Muse, Farmer at Windy Acres Farm: “If you get frozen pipes you don't have water,” said Barry Muse, Farmer at Windy Acres Farm in Bedford County. Muse breeds black limousine cattle.

Cattle can bear the wind, but when their water supply freezes up, it can be deadly.

“These waters need to be checked every day until we get out of these sub-zero temperatures,” said Muse.

Muse and Witt have similar routines of checking the water tubs daily. Witt even had to bring out a torch to defrost several inches of ice in his water tub.

It's also breeding season for beef cattle. Witt had a calf born Friday morning and keeping it warm was a big concern.

Around the farm, equipment moves a lot slower and can get damaged easier. Dairy Farmer Wayne Turner says those effects could even lead to farms going out of business.

“If one or two things breaks, a lot of farmers now just can't afford to fix it,” said Turner.

Farmers have been working an extra 10-15 hours a week because if things are not managed correctly, it could ultimately affect the consumer.

“If you don't take care of them right now the cattle get thin, they get weak. They could die on you,” said Muse.

“If we can't take care of the cattle because of the cold weather and freezing temperatures, then that will cause impact on the beef supply,” said Witt.