BEATRICE -- On a chilly Tuesday morning, roughly 40 Nebraskans hauled and unloaded 30 trailers full of cows to help a Pawnee City family.
Fourth-generation farmer Bryce Niss, 35, died in a rollover crash in November. After months of grieving and preparation, his family decided to disperse the herd.
Jeff Broady, Niss’ father-in-law, said the sale on Thursday is going to be hard for the family, because Bryce’s cows were his pride and joy.
“That’s really what he worked hard at, but he worked hard at everything,” Broady said. “Wonderful father. Wonderful son-in-law.”
Broady said Bryce and wife Dani always did business at Beatrice 77 Livestock, so once the family decided to liquidate the cows and calves, they chose to do it there.
Broady said people traveled from across the region, from Lewiston, Burchard, Johnson, Du Bois, Tecumseh and Auburn, to help load the cows and take them to the sale barn this week.
He said Bryce was always one of the first people to help someone out when asked, and that he was not surprised by the support his family has received because that’s just what rural America does for each other.
“The accident happened on a Tuesday morning, November 17, and by 3 p.m. that day there were 29 farmers harvesting his crops,” Broady said. “They finished it up the next day at 11 o’clock in the morning.
"The community has just been wonderful with Dani, bringing meals and helping with the kids, just anything that she needs. I can’t thank the community and the region enough for everything that they’ve done.”
Dennis Henrichs, one of the livestock barn's auctioneers, said he has unfortunately been a part of auctions like this before when a farmer has died.
“Tragedy certainly brings out the best, and it does prove that Bryce had hundreds of friends and people that would come to his need,” Henrichs said.
Niss’ 202 black angus bred cows and 10 bulls will be auctioned on Thursday. But there will be special auctions as well, with proceeds from the sale of a 3-year-old bred cow donated by Heldt Family Farm, and a model barn built by Glenn Katz, going to help fund the Niss children’s education.
Bryce Niss was survived by his wife, Dani, and children, Weston, 10, Reid, 6, and LilaBelle, 3.
Niss was a frequent participant in sales at Beatrice 77 Livestock, always sitting under the clock on the south wall of the sale barn. Henrichs said the area under the clock is being reserved for the Niss family during Thursday’s auction.
Henrichs said individuals who can't make it to the auction but want to donate can send a check to Beatrice 77 Livestock in the Niss family’s name.
Broady said he was at the farm on Monday, and while loading his truck he thought he saw Bryce walking across the way.
“It’s been tough. It’s been hard. Emotions I don’t know how to put it into words,” Broady said. “With the love of family and the community, we’re getting through it.”
TIMES WE WERE PROUD TO BE NEBRASKANS