Keeping the faith

Farm Forum

Note from author: To all our fellow stockman and friends in western South Dakota, I dedicate this column in hopes that these words will bring a small measure of comfort to each of you.

South Dakota is called the Land of Infinite Variety for a reason. Her wide range of temperature, moisture, and wind from one locale to another provides credence to her name. But, the folks in western South Dakota may want to change that title after this last recent slap in the face from Mother Nature. They may want to call South Dakota the Land of Infinite Adversity. And the story goes like this…

Facing Adversity

The word adversity denotes hardship, difficulty, misfortune, sorrow and yes even fear. Since October 4, 2013, western South Dakotans have experienced each of these traits of adversity ten-fold. For the “Atlas Blizzard” caused them tremendous monetary hardship, electrical power difficulties, livestock misfortunes; heart wrenching grief and sorrow, but above all-the overriding fear for one’s life. Such traumatic adversity trials which have so paralyzed western South Dakota, even our nation and the world have been awakened to the calamity.

What can I do?

But even though the world has been informed of the calamity, the reality of the situation remains that our people are still suffering and need our support. Like others, I have listened to the news accounts and watched the horrifying photos of the Atlas Blizzard’s death

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As a fellow caretaker of livestock, my heart bleeds with grief for our fellow South Dakotans, causing me to ask: How can I help? What can I do? And so I phoned a fellow Angus friend who I knew was in the midst of this turmoil and asked, “Just how bad is it?”

Her response was, “It’s about as bad as it can get.” She continued with, “We’re going to be all right because our time is not long for this earth. But, it’s the young people who need encouragement and moral support to get through this. We don’t have electricity yet, so we haven’t seen the pictures on the television. And maybe that’s okay. We have enough bad of our own.”

Her words were earth shaking to me. I could feel her pain and I let her know that we were sending up prayers for them. She thanked me for the prayers and our conversation ended with a knock at her door.

But her conversation did not end for me. It has continued with more thoughts and more prayers and more conversations with others about this blizzard. And then I heard my dearly departed father’s voice citing his favorite line whenever severe trauma came to our family. He would always take a deep breath and say, “It’s enough to try even the patience of Job, but we gotta keep the faith.”

Keeping the faith

And so that’s what I have been trying to do. I have continued to pray for our people and was encouraged by the words from Heather Hamilton-Maude from Scenic, South Dakota. I watched and listened to her on the evening news describing the scene at their ranch home. And then I went on line and read her article for Beef Magazine entitled: “Rancher Details ‘Gut-Wrenching’ Pain from Cattle Lost in SD Blizzard.” If I was still an English teacher, I would give her an A++ for this essay. It says it all.

Heather speaks from the heart and her article touched my heart right square in the middle. Especially, the last two paragraphs were right on target in which she gives thanks to God for sparing as many (cows) as He did, for the sunshine, abundant feed crop, moisture, and in her words: “for the lifestyle we love even when it breaks us.”

Wow! There is no doubt about it-this gal and her hubby are keeping the faith and are serving as a wonderful example of “What Makes a South Dakotan?” They are tough, strong, kind, caring, and looking forward to a new day. This adversity is not going to stop them; instead, it’s going to make them even more determined to go out and face the day and take care of the ones that were spared.


Evidently, after reading Heather’s article, I’m going to have to retract my statement about changing South Dakota’s title to Land of Infinite Adversity. Heather and her fellow western folk wouldn’t like this. They love our state just the way she is, even though this latest infinite variety was over powering.

To you Heather and to your hubby and all the folks in western South Dakota for your tenacity in the face of such dire adversity, we salute you. Be assured that the rest of us are wrapping our arms around you with our fervent prayers and absolute support.

Thank you for the reminder

And thank you for the reminder, to keep the faith in our great state of South Dakota-otherwise known as the “Land of Infinite Variety.”

Jane Green and her husband, Jim, live near Clark. Contact Jane for some public speaking, to order one of her books, or to register your comments. E-mail her at: