Rachel Gray: Tell us about a good thing from 2021 that you plan to take with you?


After surviving a severe drought, Minnesota farmer Rachel Gray says to always talk to other people and watch for new ways to do things. Thinking outside the box just might save the ranch.

I’m not sure how to farm without talking with neighbors. When something is wrong, I talk to people in town, I call the extension office, connect with a neighbor…I take a step back to solve it with other people. My dad says that the old way was to “gut through it”, but that women farmers are good at farming within a community. He sees this as a really great, progressive change in agriculture. His encouragement has helped me to expand our community. And that was certainly important this past year because of a drought.

We raise beef cattle (Hereford Angus-cross) in central MN about 50 miles away from the Canadian border. Normally we get plenty of rain, and it gets pretty swampy. But in 2021, the rain just went around us. It got extremely dry, and that reduced the availability of hay. We reached the point where hay prices were so high that we couldn’t afford it. I had been calling cattle nutritionists to find a place where someone could feed them. And I got in touch with a young guy who is a cattle enthusiast. He and his dad were willing to work with us, so we moved our entire herd to their location about 6 hours south of us. It’s a really big deal.  Our herd would not have survived without their help.

This is just one story in a myriad of many problems that we run into each season. So for me, I’m going to follow my dad’s encouragement and keep farming the way I do best. Talking with people.