S.D. ranchers receive assistance offers

Farm Forum

SIOUX FALLS (AP) – Officials said people from around the country have offered to help fellow ranchers in western South Dakota who lost cattle in a snowstorm earlier this month.

About 250 people have called a help line since Oct. 10, some with offers to help dispose of dead livestock, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported on Oct. 12.

”We are hearing all varieties of offers – people who want to volunteer time, to people who have other types of supplies they can donate,” said HelpLine Executive Director Janet Kittams-Lalley.

Dustin Oedekovan, the state veterinarian and head of the Animal Industry Board, estimates cattle losses due to the storm could range from 10,000 to 20,000 animals.

”It won’t be less than that. It could be more,” he told the newspaper.

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed an executive order waiving the standard 36-hour carcass disposal requirement for animals killed in the blizzard, and disposal sites have been set up free of charge.

”Ranchers are doing their best to respond to this incredible disaster, but the 36-hour requirement is a near impossibility in some instances,” Daugaard said. ”Waiving this rule is a common-sense effort to assist our producers in working through this difficult time.”

A couple of Montana groups are asking ranchers in the region to donate production cattle and sheep. Citizens for Balanced Use and the Bar Quarter Circle Ranch said they’re working with the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association on the effort.