The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association recognized northeastern Logan County’s Rivinius Ranch as the Rancher of the Year at a special awards banquet during its annual convention in Minot, N.D., recently.

Ron and Marian Rivinius and their sons, Ryan and Dan, and their families operate an enterprise that includes a commercial cow-calf herd, farm and 1,500-head feedlot. Ron Rivinius’ grandfather homesteaded the ranch in the rolling hills near Gackle/Streeter in the late 1800s. Ron’s father ran Hereford cows that eventually were bred to Simmental bulls. When he and Marian’s sons were growing up, it was a 200-head cow-calf operation with a bit of farming on the side.

Today, they each have separate farmsteads, with the home place and feedlot in the middle. CeCelia, Ron’s mom, lives at the headquarters and makes coffee and bakes treats for the family’s traditional daily morning coffee. Ryan, his wife, Becky, and their children, Jayce, Abby and Karly, live a mile east of the headquarters, while Dan, his wife, Connie, and their children, Bridger, Cash and Cooper, live a mile west of the headquarters. Becky is a trained veterinary technician who uses her skills to help care for the family’s cattle, while Connie is employed by the prison in Jamestown.

They manage two herds of red SimAngus cattle. Having two separate cowherds allows the Riviniuses to utilize their feedlot pens for their own cattle twice a year. They wean their spring calves in the fall and background them until January or February, when they are marketed through the local sales barn. Their fall calves are weaned in March, backgrounded until June and then sold directly to a feedlot. They also sell commercial heifers that become productive cows in other producers’ cowherds.

On the farming side, the Riviniuses raise corn, wheat and soybeans as cash crops. On the feed side, they produce corn silage, alfalfa, millet and oats for hay.

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Though ranching keeps them busy, the Riviniuses also take time to serve their community. Ryan is on the Gackle Co-op Oil Board, Becky is a first responder with the Gackle Ambulance Service, Dan serves on the board of the Farmer’s Co-op Elevator of Streeter and Connie is on the Gackle-Streeter School Board. Ron and Marian are active in the United Methodist Church of Streeter.

The boys’ children are all involved in 4-H, and the oldest two are also in FFA. They also plant and maintain a sweet corn patch.

“We plant it by hand, pick it and haul it,” Becky said, noting that they donate much of it to the community and the local FFA chapter.

“The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association is proud to have chosen the Rivinius family as the Rancher of the Year for 2019," said Dan Rorvig, NDSA president. "These are the folks that are the good neighbors. We are very happy that Ron, Ryan, Dan and their families are members. We realize that they’re not the kind of folks that are looking for accolades and a big slap on the back, but we appreciate their contributions to our industry, communities and association.”