Now, one topic I pretty much avoid always on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs is the world of politics.
However, in light of the recent snowstorm in Western SD I think it’s time to get as much coverage and help for them as possible.
In case you have missed it, which you most likely have because it just recently, as it finally just recently has gotten national media coverage, is that western SD had a record snowstorm last week.
And when I say record I mean the worst in South Dakota’s history. It boasted 55 inches of snow and winds of up to 60 MPH.
In the storm’s aftermath was the bodies of thousands upon thousands cattle and horses. The picture below is graphic, but very real. I pulled it from the Atlas Blizzard Ranch and Relief Aid Facebook Page.
Now, I am bringing this issue to light because eventually when the government gets out of their disagreement I can foresee this issue being brought to life in larger media outlets as well as the discussion of relief funds for the ranchers who lost their cattle. I also think that if the government’s decisions were not on every major media outlet’s clipboard this disaster would be getting a bit more coverage. It is estimated that those ranchers have lost between 20 to 50% of their cattle. I have heard of a rancher that lost all but three of his weaned calves.
And to them it isn’t just about the loss of money. It’s also about the breeding lines they have lost that in some cases have been there for decades. It’s heartbreaking when you have one dead calf, but to have to truck out in 4 feet of snow and you find hundreds I think it would be hard for any hardened heart to not feel something over a loss that devastating. It could take years to recover from this type of loss, if they even recover at all.
So, what went wrong? Is the question you might ask.
First off, this is pretty early for a blizzard in the year. Most of these cow calf herds were still on their summer pastures. Summer pastures are more open, less trees, less shelter, further from home. Winter pastures tend to offer shelter and are much closer to the home so that they can be monitored easily. Not only that but because the weather has been so beautiful here in SD those cattle hadn’t even had a chance to grow in their winter coats.
With the sudden onset of this early winter storm there was absolutely no time to prepare. And as you can see by the photo above it yielded terrible, heart wrenching losses.
So, tonight when you say your prayers think of all the farmers and ranchers in Western South Dakota. They certainly need all the prayers they can get as they still continue to search for cattle, dead and alive, as now cattle have drifted up to ten miles away from home.