Up to 60,000 cattle lost in S.D. storm, aid slow to materialize

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Update: A fund has been established to assist South Dakota cattle producers who have lost livestock following the blizzard.

Producers are still tallying losses, but calculations from the early blizzard moving through South Dakota Friday estimate livestock losses near 60,000 head.

The blizzard, one of the worst in state history, dumped four feet of snow in some areas leaving cattle producers to dig through snow drifts in hopes of rescuing part of the herd. Some producers lost up to half of their herds and early estimates listed herd losses in western South Dakota to be five percent of the total cattle supply.

New reports Tuesday list cattle losses at 60,000 head and more bad news for the state’s producers stem from D.C.’s inability to pass a new farm bill. The Livestock Indemnity Program in place to limit the losses cattle producers incur from natural disasters expired with the 2008 farm bill on Oct.1, the first day of the government shutdown.

The paperwork detailing losses with the USDA’s Farm Service Agency won’t be filed until the USDA returns to work.

"Those (FSA) offices are furloughed and there are no employees there. They are unable to help us even though they desperately want to," Silvia Christen, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, told The Dickinson Press.

Other states are also in the process of tallying agricultural losses as the snow affected Colorado and Wyoming and snow and tornadoes hit Iowa and Nebraska. One estimate lists cattle losses in Nebraska over the weekend between 2,000 and 3,000 head.

Jodie Anderson, executive director of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, advises cattle producers to document losses so they’re prepared when the shutdown ends and farm bill discussions conclude.



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L. Cole    
Katy, TX  |  October, 08, 2013 at 04:32 PM

Farmers and ranchers should not depend on an inept federal government. Our association(s) need to set up their own insurance and funds. Even doing 'farm Aid' fundraising for times of extreme disaster. But depending on the Feds is a loose loose situation.

Lillian    
Senecaville,OH  |  October, 09, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Agee L

wdm    
Starkville, MS  |  October, 09, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Could not agree more.

Heifers for S. Dakota    
October, 09, 2013 at 02:06 PM

Now is everyone's chance to step up. We're a grassroots organizations with a simple plan, we want to help facilitate folks to be able to donate breeding livestock to producers who have lost so much. Please go to Heifers for S. Dakota on facebook and get involved.

Heifers for S. Dakota    
October, 09, 2013 at 02:26 PM

Now is everyone's chance to step up. We're a grassroots organizations with a simple plan, we want to help facilitate folks to be able to donate breeding livestock to producers who have lost so much. Please go to Heifers for S. Dakota on facebook and get involved.

Jack    
IA  |  October, 09, 2013 at 09:10 PM

Not saying that this is not a disaster but I dont understand why we need to donate breeding heifers and need government to help? I insure a thousand head a month through Hartford for $75 a month. It covers all storm events but heat loss...which I dont agree with at all. But why in the world would people not have inurance?? Or am i looking at this wrong?

Butch gillespie    
Montana  |  October, 09, 2013 at 09:57 PM

This would be great, but every time I have tried to get insurance on the herd I have hit a dead end. One always worries about a disaster like this, or fire, flood, lightning, whatever. You work all your life and get wiped out in a few hours. I will try a Hartford agency on the internet as have never seen one locally.

Cchotkowski    
CT  |  October, 15, 2013 at 09:14 AM

Hi there: Please know that up "here" we are thinking of you and wish we were closer to help. I am an ag teacher and many of us do understand because although we have smaller farms we have been hit for three years with storms hurricanes etc. in Sept. and Oct. Do you have anyone going to Nat'l FFA convention with info on how we can help?


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