Fund set up to assist S.D. cattle producers as furlough continues

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South Dakota cattle producers with losses stemming from last weekend’s blizzard may be frustrated by the lack of federal assistance due to government shutdown, but help is on the way.

Three South Dakota organizations have combined efforts to establish the Rancher Relief Fund with the Black Hills Area Community Foundations to provide support and assistance to ranchers affected by the blizzard.

You can donate to the Rancher Relief Fund online.

Or you can mail checks to:
Black Hills Community Area Foundation
% SD Rancher Relief Fund
PO Box 231
Rapid City, 57709

Make your checks out to "Rancher Relief Fund."

The fund will be administered by the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, South Dakota Cattlemen's Association and South Dakota Sheep Growers Association.

Producers who lost animals need to properly document the losses as it will help process potential claims.  Third-party verification of losses is recommended.  To get answers to questions about livestock identification, you can contact the South Dakota Brand Board at 605-773-3324.

Damages from the blizzard have led Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., to call on Congress to pass a new farm bill, providing financial assistance to livestock producers affect by the weather. According to the Rapid City Journal, Thune says both the Senate and House versions of the new farm bill include a livestock disaster program that would cover between 65 percent and 75 percent of ranchers' losses.

The Livestock Indemnity Program, set up to limit the losses cattle producers incur from natural disasters, expired with the 2008 farm bill on Oct.1 and ranchers are left with unanswered questions while the furlough continues.

"A lot of the government agencies that we would normally be turning to for those answers are furloughed,” Jodie Anderson, executive director of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, told the Billings Gazette. “So there's this sort of timing issue that's enhancing the frustration out there in cattle country."

Up to 60,000 cattle were killed as a result of the blizzard.

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Craig A. Moore    
Billings, MT  |  October, 10, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Am I missing something here or is it just one more case of trying to blame one party or another for problems that haven't come to fruition yet? They keep saying about how they have to get funding to help with the lose of all the cattle. Unless you had intended to sell the cattle in the last week, you haven't lost any money yet, assets yes, capital, no. Damage caused by the storm and the extra feed needed would be another issue but until it is time the livestock was to be sold will there be a capital loss. Just like the stock market. If you didn't sell when it went up, you didn't make anything and if you didn't sell when it dropped, you didn't lose anything yet. Losing a cow this month that wasn't going to be sold until next month will have no affect on the bills you owe this month.

Idaho  |  October, 10, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Why is a conservative republican senator that wants to cut government spending asking for government money to pay for snow storm cattle losses? They should have bought insurance from private insurance companies. Government spending is govenment spending. Cutting government spending means cuttting government spending even if it hurts.

Craig A. Moore    
Billings, MT  |  October, 10, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Were you thinking the same thing about the folks loss on the east coast after Sandy. And if not, why?

October, 10, 2013 at 08:16 PM

Why would someone not have insurance??? Why would a bank finance high dollar cattle without insurance?? Why would you even risk high dollar cattle with no insurance?? Dont get it.

Bill Bethea    
Carolina  |  October, 11, 2013 at 08:48 AM

Gentlemen, please, insurance is not about to cover all of these loses, if it covers any. This was a catastrophic event, once in a hundred years; have a little compassion for folks who bust there ass to make a living putting meat on America's table. Cattle are not covered under the crop loss provisions of the Farm Bill and to say there is no loss from cattle killed in a snow storm is not realistic. I am not a CPA, but when a calf hits the ground, he/she has value. If they don't make it to the sale from whatever reason, then there is a loss and the bills don't get paid. I think it is called amortization in accountize, but regardless, it is the American way to help folks in an emergency. I think losing 60,000 cattle in Western South Dakota qualifies. Count me in!

ks  |  October, 11, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Most insurance doesn't cover "Acts of God" Does livestock insurance cover "Acts of God" And then if the producer is atheist does he or does he not get assistance?

October, 11, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Bill, I insure a thousand head a month for all storm events but it will not cover heat loss. It costs me $75 a month. Please inform me what the farm bill has to do with this.

Bill Bethea    
carolina  |  October, 12, 2013 at 08:18 AM

Jack, as I understand it and please correct me if I'm wrong, the existing farm bill (old) does not have insurance coverage for cattle. The new and yet to be passed farm bill will cover cattle, but I don't know the details. In my humble opinion, coverage for cattle is long overdue, and would have protected the Black Hills folks from catistrophic snow storm loss (the whole point of insurance). I hope this comes about soon.

October, 12, 2013 at 09:04 PM

Well Bill, I do kinda of a new concept of self thinking and that is I deal with a private insurance company. In fact my premium payments go to Sioux Falls SD, to a company called Hartford. They have a wonderful website that will have answers to all who have questions how to cover cattle for all storm events and many other different options for all livestock operations. If you cant afford around $75 insurance payment a month I think it is time to find a new line of work anyhow. Why these livestock associations insist that the only disaster in the livestock business is if something dies I have no idea. There is a number of other issues that need to be addressed long before something dies. Please inform me how I am wrong on this cause I dont need big brother to do my thinking for me.

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