Livestock carcass removal following October blizzard

Farm Forum

PIERRE, S.D. – Last week’s winter storm has caused considerable death loss of livestock in western South Dakota. The SD Animal Industry Board (SDAIB), in partnership with the SD Office of Emergency Management, has contracted with a rendering service to begin clearing carcasses from state highways, ditches and right-of-ways. State personnel will do their best to establish ownership of the animal carcasses by verifying brands, official identification, description and location as carcasses are removed from state roadways.

Carcasses located on or along county-owned or privately owned roadways must be removed by the respective county or private owner of the roadway. The removal of carcasses located on private land is the responsibility of the animal owner or land owner. Although current conditions make carcass disposal difficult, it is urgent that decaying carcasses be disposed of in as timely a manner as possible to prevent health and safety issues. Carcasses may be burned, buried to a depth of four feet or disposed of by a licensed rendering plant. Carcass disposal guidelines may be found on the SDAIB website:

Livestock owners are urged to thoroughly document livestock deaths in the event that indemnity funds may be available in the future. Suggested recordkeeping would include dates, photos, description of animals (type of livestock, number of head, weight, sex, age, etc.), vaccination records, pregnancy test records, hauling receipts, collection of all identification tags and any other information that would verify the loss. A third-party signature and statement to verify losses will most likely be required. Veterinarians, extension and many other resources may be verifying third party agents. Employees and family members are not eligible.

Motorists on western South Dakota roadways are urged to drive with extra caution as there will be workers on and near the roadways as carcasses are removed. Also, motorists must be aware that livestock carcasses or stray livestock may be present on or along the roadways at any time.