Canadian farmers catch their cows in rising Red River and do not want to leave them behind

The water levels in the Red River in North Dakota were so high Sunday that it looked like it was rushing across the country into Canada.

With water levels at close to record highs, there were some farmers who saw an opportunity to go after their cows.

Their only problem? The farmers are Canadian.

Kirk Ruest, a farmer from Ontario, Canada, took a boat out to rescue his cows from the waters of the Red River.

According to a report from the Times Colonist, Ruest took his family and eight cows from their farm near the Red River Bridge in Nelson, Manitoba, to the river banks and used a large boat to approach the flood waters. The floods were so high they covered the bridge and the riverbanks.

“In the old days, if you owned cattle you would just sit them down and wait,” Ruest told the Times Colonist. “They would wait, and you would wait, and we’d have a conversation, ‘How far could I get?’ and I’d drive way down the river.”

Ruest said many of the cows had made it to the shore and were “standing on the bank, looking at their feet and rubbing their feet, to get some type of circulation.”

Ruest said this was the worst flood he’s seen in his four decades on the land.

Canadian media reports noted that nine other farmers from Manitoba and North Dakota brought a boat with them and were able to successfully catch their cattle from the rising waters.

Both the Red River and the Mackenzie River have risen well over normal levels, though the two rivers haven’t reached record levels. Despite the concern and effort, it’s unlikely anyone will be able to replace these cows, the Washington Post reported:

Compounding the problem is that the area has been flooded and drought is affecting some of the area cattle producers. And corn crops in this area could be harmed if flood waters continue to rise. The corn is a key food source for cattle.

If the water were to rise even higher, then Ruest may have to return to his roots to rescue his cattle — with abandon:

A rain fall of 20 inches is expected in the area next week. The Red River is forecast to crest at the university of Manitoba. With that forecast, there’s a good chance the Red River is going to be a river on the prairies.

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