SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Ranchers and producers who lost millions of dollars in livestock in the October Blizzard West River tell US Senator Tim Johnson that they're angry with the federal government.
From the shutdown during the storm and now the lack of a farm bill now, they need help.
As ranchers continue removing dead cattle in western South Dakota, the economic impact of the Autumn Blizzard is estimated at $1.7 billion dollars.
"It's difficult to describe the stories we've heard," Johnson said.
While surveying the damage and talking with devastated ranchers, Senator Tim Johnson says recovery lies in a farm bill.
"They need help immediately and the snow couldn't have come at a worse time," Johnson said.
While the bill remains in committee, it will likely face continued opposition amid the political climate in Washington.
While livestock disaster assistance programs would help devastated producers, it faces stiff cuts from the sequester and an estimated $70 billion fewer dollars than last year.
"I fear that the farm bill itself wouldn't be nearly enough to cover the losses," Johnson said.
Another important aspect of recovery is the Rancher Relief Fund, according to Johnson who says the private sector is critical. But for some producers, the storm could be too much.
"The ranchers are pleading for help and I'll do the best I can, but the farm bill should have passed a couple years ago," Johnson said.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services Michael Scuse toured Western South Dakota with Johnson.
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