We're starting to get a better handle on the total number of livestock lost in this month's blizzard in western South Dakota.
Ag Secretary Lucas Lentsch says the latest estimate for livestock losses are between 15,000 to 25,000 head.
Lentsch says it could still be weeks before the state gets an exact total because some parts of the Black Hills remain snow-covered, making it tough to survey the losses. Those 25,000 head represent a total loss to the livestock industry in the millions of dollars.
Lentsch says the blizzard was very indiscriminate in its devastation; some ranchers lost just a few head, while their neighbor's lost nearly their entire herd.
The upshot is the generosity being shown nationwide through a Rancher Relief Fund that was set up just last week. Lentsch says the response has been very strong, with people and corporations donating thousands of dollars to help the ranchers get back on solid financial footing.
Perry Groten talks with Lentsch about how the blizzard cost ranchers a livelihood that goes back generations, tonight on KELOLAND News.