The Noble family manages a cow/calf herd and a breeding heifer enterprise with 2,000 animals.
Ryan Noble’s great-grandfather homesteaded Noble Ranch back in 1912 and today, Ryan, alongside his wife Ronella and their two kids, William and Adeline, represent the fifth generation to live on the family land.
Impacts of COVID-19
Throughout the generations, the Nobles have faced their fair share of challenges, yet none can compare to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the onset of the virus in the United States, the Noble Ranch has endured significant losses.
“Here on the Noble Ranch, our economic valuation loss per head between February 1, 2020 and early May has been roughly $200 per head, or about $400,000,” Ryan said.
When asked about the reason for this sudden and drastic decrease in valuation, Ryan said, “One of the biggest reasons that we have lost so much equity is because of the slowdown or complete stoppage of our cattle processing plants.”
The spread of the virus required Ryan’s normal meat processing plants to cut output dramatically due to worker safety concerns and from those who contracted the virus. These sudden changes caused uncertainty for employees who feared illness and lost income and they left farmers like Ryan with few options.
At the time of his comments in early May, Ryan had approximately 50 head of cattle ready for harvest, but nowhere to take them to be processed.
The pre-COVID valuation for these animals was nearly $100,000. However, with the decreased capacity at the processing plants, Ryan anticipated having to wait up to eight weeks before he could sell his 50 head of cattle. Those extra eight weeks on the farm meant an extra eight weeks of feed for his ever-growing livestock. This would add close to $10,000 to Ryan’s input costs and decrease the cattle’s worth. The resulting net loss for just these 50 animals would be about $400 per head, or a total of $20,000.
Despite these startling numbers, Ryan remains hopeful. “There has never been a generation of Americans who backed down from a real threat and I know that today’s generation is no different.”
Premier Farm Credit understands the challenges that Ryan and the Noble Ranch have faced throughout the COVID-19 crisis and they have been there to support Ryan through these tough times.