Partner and Ranch Manager David Little keeps things running smoothly at the fourth generation family-owned Little Cattle Company Ranch in Emmett, Idaho. Once one of the largest sheep producers in the country, with a flock of more than 120,000, the ranch shifted its focus to cattle in 1962, and currently has 1,000 mother cows.
Little keeps the cattle in Emmett during the winter, then moves half the cattle to a ranch in Sweet Ola for the summer and the other half to Long Valley. The ranches are subject to drought and drought-related fires.
“Our winter feed is predicated on rainfall, so if we don’t get a good late spring or fall rain we are short winter feed,” said Little. “We grow some of our own hay so if we are short during critical times we need to purchase additional forage.”
Little began researching available insurance options after several droughts and came across agent Aaron Tattersall and Silveus Insurance Group. Prior to that the ranch did not have Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Insurance (PRF).
“This is our third year of having coverage at the ranches,” said Little. “Aaron comes to our office and walks us through the areas of our winter/spring range that make the most sense to cover. We change it a little bit every year.”
A year ago, Idaho switched from the vegetative index to the rainfall index. Little’s ranches fall into different grids in multiple counties. Aaron helps him navigate the changes in coverage over the years, coming up with solutions that prove to be a good fit. He is frequently in contact with Little regarding the policy and adjustments for the upcoming year.
“A lot of our ground is dry range and isn’t irrigated so it takes quite a few acres of forage for a cow and a calf,” said Little, adding that PRF coverage gives him peace of mind that he can rent additional pasture or purchase hay and alfalfa for the winter if needed.
Several years prior to purchasing PRF coverage, the ranches experienced a number of drought-related fires and had to sell down the herd. “We didn’t keep heifers one year to get our numbers down to fit with our winter range and our feed supply,” said Little. “Thanks to PRF coverage we’ve been able to boost our numbers and now we’re close to what they’ve been historically.”