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Lynn Diebert
Diebert Farms, Herried, South Dakota

Gordon lynn
Consultant and Ag Writer / LEADER Consulting, LLC

I usually don’t get anything special for the farm for Christmas, as my family gives me things for my personal use and feels that giving things for the farm is boring.

However, I do receive small items once in a while – like a vaccination syringe, cattle paddle, etc. – and over the years, my wife, Vickey, has given some creative gifts for the farm to me and our two children, Vanessa and Ethan.

I remember we were married for about two years, and the only gift she couldn’t guess I had purchased for her was a “belt sander.”

She felt the need to return the unique gift favor by getting me a household hand-mixer for my birthday.


Another year at Christmas, I purchased her a purebred Simmental heifer. She was excited and insisted the heifer be ear-tagged with the initials “VD,” for Vickey, instead of the usual “LD” for my cattle. The heifer was named Kim Possible.

My wife does the grass mowing in our yard, and believe me, it’s not a small area. It can take up to eight hours to mow.

So about three years ago, I gave her the gift of a small Challenger tractor with a 7-foot finish mower.

Even though I give her Christmas gifts for use on the farm with the goal to make things easier for her, I must add, she also does receive something shiny or sparkly that either goes on her hands, ears or around her neck.

In other words, some “bling.” I have to say, she deserves both the farm Christmas gifts and the bling, because she is my right-hand helper around the farm.

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Lynn Pelton
Pelton Simmental/Red Angus, Burdett, Kansas

One special morning, December 1999, is one Christmas still very meaningful to me.

Our son Dustin, who was in the eighth grade at the time, always loved to build and design things.

Unknown to me, he started a project earlier that year from metal he found around the farm and worked throughout the year to build a “calf cab” that I could pull behind the four-wheeler.

He designed it so that the cow would be able to smell the calf easily and could follow the cart to the barn.

The welds were not perfect, the corners a bit rough, but the gate, the large wheels and hitch all worked perfectly in all conditions, wet or dry.

My wife, Sue, and I have always tried to teach our children the importance of giving. I will never forget that young boy’s face, beaming with excitement, as he took me to the farm shop to show me a nicely painted project that is still used every calving season here at Pelton Simmental/Red Angus.

The presents he received that year were special to him, but being able to give something to me – his father – that he constructed himself is what made that Christmas special for both of us.

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Greg and Cleo Shaw and family
Shaw Cattle Co., Caldwell, Idaho

A couple of years ago, we were trying to figure out how to expand our registered Hereford cow base.

Both of our sons and their families had returned to the ranch with us, and we needed more cattle numbers.

We are a totally performance-based seedstock producer, so finding the right set of cows proved to be a challenge.

Around Thanksgiving, we heard about a set of cows for sale, clear across the country. The current owner was being forced to sell because of drought in their area.

After many emails, phone calls and reviewing of the performance and pedigree data on the cows, we believed these cows might work in our program.

So, Greg and sons Tucker and Sam flew to the ranch in early December to make an on-site herd visit and to start negotiating the details.

More emails, phone calls and bank visits, and finally things fell into place for us to go ahead and purchase the cows.

The cows arrived at our ranch in Idaho on Dec. 22. Bad weather slowed the trip, and the cattle arrived way after dark that night.

All of the grandkids were up and excited looking out the windows waiting to spot the big cattle trucks.

Finally, we spotted them coming down the road toward the loading chute. Five big semi-trucks with their red and yellow clearance lights shining – I remember someone made the comment that it looked like Santa Claus and his crew were in town with our delivery.

After two days of traveling across the U.S. and after enduring a couple of years of drought, when the cows hit the pasture with grass under their noses – I’m sure they felt like it was Christmas too.

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Chuck and Gail Tastad
McCumber Angus Ranch, Rolette, North Dakota

(Pictured – Daughter-in-law Cynthia Tastad with her Christmas gift)

At our ranch, our goal is to be ready for winter when it comes, which can be anywhere from early October to late December since we are located in the north-central part of North Dakota, only about 40 miles from the Canadian border.

But it seems we are never ready for winter, no matter how late it comes.

We keep several herd bulls over winter in runs with a shed with water fountains. This works great when the fountains are working, but they haven’t been working the last couple years.

Our daughter-in-law, Cynthia, has taken it upon herself to keep the bulls watered over the long winter months.

Since the water fountains currently are not in full working order, this means hand-watering the bulls in tubs – in all types of weather conditions. In North Dakota, this can mean many days of cold, nasty weather.

Cynthia’s only complaint is that the ice pick she has had to use to open up the water tubs is broken and full of splinters, making her task more difficult.

So Chuck decided last Christmas he would give Cynthia a brand-new ice pick. He even took her along to the farm store to pick it out.

Needless to say, Cynthia thought this was one of the most useful gifts she has ever received for use on the ranch and for Christmas.  end mark