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16 years and counting: couple raises crops, cows and kids on Amidon farm

Donald and Sarah Nordby of Amidon have been running a diversified farm and ranch since 1994.

"I love the freedom and independence that farming and ranching allows us," Donald said. "I enjoy the outdoors and not having a boss telling me what to do or where to be."

The Nordbys have a beef cow calf operation along with an artificial insemination business on the side called Badlands Genetics.

The cow-calf operation keeps life interesting, Sarah said.

"When you work with cows there is something new everyday," Donald said. "Changes in technology, handling techniques and dealing with each cow's personality keep me on my toes."

The Nordbys' Red and Black Angus herd is split into two groups, a spring calving herd and a fall calving herd.

"Having both spreads your income out a little bit," Donald said. "Instead of getting one paycheck you get two."

The Nordbys also converted some of their land into grass and hay land and have a small herd of sheep and horses.

"We sell lambs to area children for club projects such as 4-H," Donald said.

Donald handles a lot of the labor intensive work, Sarah said, but added she can hold her own too.

"I don't just sit in the house," Sarah said. "I help out wherever necessary. I run machinery, help with haying and calving, set up meetings, and organize our customer list and books."

Sarah said she likes the challenge and flexibility farming and ranching allows the family and enjoys working with her neighbors and being part of a community.

Hannah, Ty and Tate, the Nordbys' three children, all have helped out on the farm.

"I like the wide open spaces and working with animals," Hannah said.

She enjoys it so much that she is involved in both 4-H and Future Farmers of America, Sarah said.

"It's nice to see your kids take an interest in what you do," Sarah said. "It's fun to work along side each other as a family."

Badlands Genetics provides supplemental income for the Nordbys.

"We sell beef and dairy semen for artificial insemination," Sarah said.

The area the Nordbys' cover runs from the Montana and South Dakota borders to a little north of Beach, and east to Beulah. They also cover two northwestern counties in South Dakota.

Donald and Sarah said what they love most about the second business is that they can run it from home. They also enjoy meeting new people and building relationships with customers.

"Farming and Ranching is a passion that not only do Donald and I share," Sarah said. "But one we share with our friends and neighbors too."

In the past Sarah and Donald have helped young couples in the area get started in their own farming and ranching endeavors.

"Donald used to teach agriculture classes at the college level," Sarah said. "It's something he really has a knack for."

Sarah said she would love to see more young people in her community come back home to farm or ranch.

"It's a great line of work that builds muscle and character," Sarah said.