Eastern South Dakota farmers are coming to the aid of West River ranchers during this week's Sioux Empire Farm Show in Sioux Falls. Proceeds from a silent and live auction Friday will go to the Rancher Relief Fund which helps ranchers recover their livestock losses from last fall's blizzard.
The rapid cadence of the auctioneer can't drown-out the memories that still echo from the western South Dakota blizzard.
"There was dead cattle all over and snow, I've never seen anything like it in my life and I hope that I never see anything like that again," Lake Andes rancher Chad Svatos said.
Chad Svatos is grateful he didn't lose any of his livestock that were in a pasture south of Rapid City when the blizzard hit.
"And we know a lot of people that did lose cattle and we feel bad for them and it was a bad deal and nothing could have been done any differently to prevent it," Svatos said.
Goldies Trailer Sales doesn't expect a big drop-off in business at its Hot Springs location.
"I'm sure there's a few customers that decided this wasn't the year to upgrade some equipment and they've got to replace their herd. So yeah, it's going to affect business, somewhat," Goldies Trailer Sales owner Jeff Goldammer said.
Equipment dealers are hoping high cattle prices will help offset some of the financial losses from the blizzard.
"I've been in the livestock business all my life and this is the highest market I've ever seen," Goldammer said.
While hopes are high at the farm show, last October's blizzard is a reminder to ranchers that Mother Nature has the ultimate say in their operations.
"And she can do nasty things if she wants, and you just prepare for it and go from there," Svatos said.
Once the Sioux Empire Farm Show is over, Goldies Trailer Sales will be heading west to next week's Black Hills Stock Show in Rapid City. Goldammer says it's important to make it to events like these because sales are usually strong.