Rancher Relief Fund helping hundreds of ranchers

Farm Forum

Pierre, S.D. – Four short months after the devastating winter storm Atlas struck western South Dakota, the Rancher Relief Fund (RRF) is poised to disburse an additional $3.3 million to hundreds of livestock producers in the impacted area.

Cory Eich, President of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, noted, “We can’t thank the Rancher Relief Fund donors enough. The outpouring of support from around the country has been gratifying and we’re pleased to be able to distribute over $4 million back to the livestock producers of western South Dakota and neighboring states who lost animals in the early blizzard.”

The Rancher Relief Fund distributed nearly $775,000 to impacted livestock producers prior to the application deadline of December 31, 2013. With more than 600 applications received, the S.D. Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (SDVOAD) will be working as quickly as possible to disburse an additional $3.3 million to the qualified applicants in the coming weeks.

All disbursements are based on criteria established by representatives of the founding livestock organizations. In order to qualify for assistance from the Rancher Relief Fund, applicants must demonstrate they are livestock producers and they must have lost a minimum of ten percent of their livestock herd.

“With approximately 600 applicants reporting losses of roughly 43,000 head of cattle, sheep and horses, we recognize the financial assistance from the Rancher Relief Fund will not come close to fully reimbursing the ranchers that suffered devastating losses. However, we know every little bit helps in the wake of the historic storm,” said Bob Fortune, S.D. Stockgrowers Association President.

Tax deductible donations are still being accepted for the Rancher Relief Fund and can be made online by going to the Black Hills Area Community Foundation’s website at Additional funding rounds may be provided to RRF applicants, depending on continued contributions. For answers to frequently asked questions or for more information on the Rancher Relief Fund, please visit