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The speaker is a 67-year-old White man with some schooling from Ludlow, South Dakota; he was recorded in 1966.

County: Harding
State: SD

South Dakota was opened to homestead settlement in 1899, and the land West-River (that half of the state west of the Missouri River) was soon settled by ranchers and miners. Ludlow, a small unincorporated town in northwestern South Dakota, is in prime ranching area. The speaker describes why this land was chosen for ranching and explains some of the challenges ranchers face today.
Inf: Well, when the snow blows off, the first thing is the cows commence to have calves, first of April. That's quite a busy season on lots o' ranches. But we're fortunately situated here to be in a natural rough shelter an' brush, an' we leave the cows in that. There's seventeen acres of it, seventeen sections in that pasture. Then the cows, they go in the low places in the brush an' get out of the wind an', an' we never do pay no attention to 'em when they're calving, because the country's so rough an' big to cover it'd take six men and, an' fifty head of saddle horse to ride it, you know. There ain't no time to, a cow that'd be in distress'd be hidden in the brush or low ground or some place, an' you wouldn't find her 'til the magpies went flying outta the brush. So we just let 'em alone an' nature provides for 'em. If you don't highly-- too highly domesticate your cattle, they'll take care of themselves.

Now we get a cash crop way up in the latter nineties all the time. With the amount of cows we have, we have trouble getting them [(?)] dry cows. And it'll be ninety-six, ninety-seven, ninety-eight percent of cash crop is persistent here. It's the uh, the most natural ranch country in the, in the northwest. It was the first ranch located here, the cattlemen picked it. Eighty years ago, to-- it was an ideal spot: runnin' water, an', an' shelter lays just to the right uh, direction of the-- most of our storms here comes from the northwest. An' the storms from the northwest'll drive the cattle further into the rough country. An' if you'd ain't got 'em fenced up or penned up the day before the storm hits, the cattle'll go into the rough country. An' they can sense these storms a-comin', an' they'll go back into the shelter.

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