South Dakota's abundant generosity could be a financial lifeline to ranchers who've lost so much in the blizzard. Your donations to a relief fund will help families throughout western South Dakota.
The Black Hills Area Community Foundation is helping with the relief fund. It's being administered by the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, South Dakota Cattlemen's Association and South Dakota Sheep Growers Association.
South Dakota farm country is a landscape of contrasts. In the east, the fall harvest is in high gear. But out west, herds are decimated and ranchers devastated.
"I've talked to some of my friends out there, I've never heard them so despondent, I've never heard them so emotionally and physically drained. It's just horrific," former South Dakota Agriculture Secretary Walt Bones said.
Former South Dakota ag secretary, Walt Bones, says with no farm bill in place and the government shutdown still in effect, there's no federal safety net in place to lessen the blow to ranchers. So financial help will have to come from other South Dakotans.
"This is not just devastating to farmers and ranchers, but it's everybody they do business with," Bones said.
Farmers and ranchers aren't the type to ask for help, even when facing disaster.
"They're not turning to the federal government and say, 'Hey come help me,' they're dealing with it," Bones said.
Bones says he's confident South Dakotans will contribute generously to the relief fund, regardless of whether they live on the farm or in the city.
"We're independent, we're proud, we take care of our people," Bones said.
To donate to the relief fund, click here
If you'd like to volunteer to help with the livestock cleanup, you can call the 211 Helpline Center.