Ag tour explores Winifred area

Deb Hill
News-Argus Managing Editor
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
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Kris and Dennis Descheemaeker discuss ranching during a prior year’s ag tour.
News-Argus File Photo

It’s finally fall, and that means only one thing: it’s Ag Tour time. This year the popular bus tour takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 6.
Sponsored each year by the Lewistown Area Chamber of Commerce, the Ag Tour started as a way to introduce town residents to the challenges and opportunities faced by the agriculture community. Along the way the idea evolved, and now, decades later, many residents look forward to the entertaining day trip.
This year’s tour is spearheaded by Chamber Board member Dennis Descheemaeker, who ranches east of Lewistown. Descheemaeker said the tour will take place mostly in the Winifred area.
The first stop along the way is the Jim Butcher ranch near Lewistown, where tour members will learn about a growing niche market featuring direct sales of beef to consumers. Butcher’s cattle are grain fed, both here and in Nebraska, another interesting departure from the typical approach to area cattle raising.
“It’s kind of a new way to do marketing, with direct sales,” said Descheemaeker.
At the next stop, participants will learn about virtual fencing. Using a concept created to keep pets in yards without putting up a visible fence, Ryan Green has designed a method for keeping cattle in place using GPS data and electronics rather than having to fence and cross fence.
“Of course, you have to get them trained to it,” Descheemaeker said, adding that, similar to the way invisible dog fences work, crossing the line of the virtual fence results in a small shock to the errant cow.
Headed up by a trio of energetic young women, RanchHers explores direct marketing of local beef using social media and the internet. Founded by Abby Majerus, Mariah Shammel and Jessi Olsen, the focus is on selling grass fed beef to consumers who want to know where their protein comes from.
The bus will pause in Winifred for a tour of the community center, museum, and the remodeling of the Winifred School funded by local boy made good, Norm Asbjornson. Lunch, prepared by the Fergus County Livestock Association, will be served in Winifred.
After lunch it’s back to Lewistown to hear from Kyle Shobe, new owner of the Lewistown Livestock Auction Yards. Shobe will explain how auction sales fit into the rancher’s portfolio of sales opportunities, and how the auction operates.

Taking most of a day, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., participants will enjoy traveling in the comfort of a Fergus High School team bus, with frequent snack breaks and many opportunities to get out and stretch one’s legs.
Those wishing to go on the tour should meet in the First Bank lobby on Oct. 6. Those that come early, starting at 7 a.m., get pastries and coffee to start their day.
There is a fee for the Ag Tour. To learn more, or to sign up, contact the Lewistown Area Chamber of Commerce, 535-5436.