On March 29, Double Bar D Farms, located north-east of Grenfell, held their 10th annual Bull and Female Sale.
Sales were pretty much on par with previous years, the highest-selling bull going for $36,000, and the highest heifer for $4,100. Buyers this year came from Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the United States.
Also in attendance were scores of locals, many of whom went out to enjoy a day of food and socializing.
“We welcome that, because we feel it’s a great support for them to come and support us in that way,” said owner Richard Dimler. “We’re very happy that people from the community come to our sale.”
He is also thrilled with the number of volunteers who turned up once again to make the event a success.
“Friends and relatives and neighbors volunteer their help, and I just want to say that we really appreciate those who help out and attend our sale and just give us moral support.”
Double Bar D Farms is family-owned and operated by Richard and Marcia, Ken and Shauna and Mark and Julie Dimler, as well as six additional full-time employees.
The place has come a long way since it started up in 1968. Richard and Marcia Dimler were gifted with 328 acres of land and six yearling Angus heifers to get them started. The operation has since grown to around 30,000 acres of land and they are planning to breed close to 1,000 females this summer.
“So it’s just mushroomed,” Dimler said.
This is in spite of the struggles that the Canadian cattle industry has faced over the last six year or so, which Dimler attributes partly to the BSE scare, as well as media reports and studies advising people not to eat red meat. Dimler urges consumers to do their research before believing such claims.
“You do hear some negative things about red meat, which I don’t believe is accurate. As people, we have to sift out the real truth from what is misleading.”
He points out that while high-fat, high marbled meats, if eaten in large quantities, could pose a health risk, Double Bar D Farms strives to select cattle with a high percentage of lean meat.
“We in particular are selecting cattle that are high muscle. Fat’s not good for you, but the red portion is very healthy for you.”
Despite the hurdles, however, he believes that the industry is about to experience another upswing, and he plans to be prepared.
“We’re gearing up for that at the moment - to see those changes happen within the next one or two years - and we want to be ready for that and have the right kind of cattle at the right times.”
Double Bar D has the distinction of having been the first Simmental sale in southeast Saskatchewan to be held on-farm. Dimler feels that on-farm sales are crucial to ensure the health of the cattle.
“We take pride in providing sound cattle that are on a good health program, and haven’t been exposed to the run-of-the-mill auction barn cattle that can pick up diseases.”
The annual sale is by no means the only busy time for the farm, where the work continues all year round.
“It’s a 24 hour job to be responsible for livestock, 365 days a year. So there’s a tremendous amount of labour involved in the breeding and care for of livestock,” Dimler said.
He feels fortunate to have a family that is willing to put in the time and effort to keep the farm going.
“There aren’t a lot people that have the experience and knowledge to get into agriculture today, and I’m really happy that our two sons are involved, and that there are still some young people getting involved in agriculture.”
As for the annual sale itself, Dimler insists that they just couldn’t do it without help of their friends and neighbors.
“There are many, many people in the community who help with putting on the meal and help with the actual sale day. There are students from school, friends, hockey teammates - you name it. We appreciate it and want to thank all of them who show up on an annual basis, year after year, and support us in that way.”