Dealing with livestock losses

Farm Forum

PIERRE – The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) reminds producers who have lost livestock during the recent blizzard to document losses. Proper documentation is critical to ensure processing of potential claims.

“This early season, record setting blizzard is devastating to our producers and our thoughts are with them,” said Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch. “We are working to coordinate with ag industry stakeholders to establish and execute a response plan.”

SDDA is working closely with the Office of Emergency Management, Animal Industry Board, Brand Board and Governor’s Office on recovery efforts.

Documentation of Livestock Losses

Documentation of livestock losses are critical. Documentation will help emergency authorities understand the scope of the impact of this storm and help you as producers to file claims and receive potential compensation for losses.

·Producers should document all livestock losses with pictures of carcasses, vaccination and hauling receipts and records, or any other records such as tags, Bangs clips, etc.

·Third-party verification of losses is recommended and can be a simple piece of paper explaining the facts and signed. This can come from a veterinarian, a local law enforcement official or even an arms-length third party such as a neighbor or pastor. Family members or hired employees are not considered third-party.

· If you have questions regarding livestock identification, please contact the South Dakota Brand Board at 605.773.3324.

Disposal and identification of livestock carcasses

The South Dakota Animal Industry Board (AIB) will be coordinating disposal of livestock carcasses. Brand Board inspectors will be involved in identifying livestock and livestock carcasses and will document these losses and ownership. Call the Animal Industry Board at 605.773.3321.

For carcass disposal information, contact the AIB at 605.773.3321. Disposal guidelines are available at http://

Please contact your county emergency management or the Animal Industry Board for details or to report livestock for removal.

Help document the loss of livestock found on your property that don’t belong to you before disposing of those carcasses with photographs or by calling Emergency Management or a brand inspector.

Human Stress and Mental Health

Don’t forget to take care of yourself and your family members!

Self worth is not tied to net worth. These tragic losses are not your fault and don’t reflect on your capabilities as a rancher or as a person.

Individuals experiencing disaster-related stress should contact a local community health provider or call Youth and Family Services in Rapid City at 605.342.4195 or 605.342.4870. Information is also available at http://

Reporting Loss of Livestock

Reporting losses will help manage the situation across the state but also helps to identify livestock ownership of animals that strayed in the storm.

Affected producers should contact their local county emergency managers.