Massive snow drifts and stranded motorists weren’t the only thing Sioux Falls resident Hugh Weber noticed on his trip home from Rapid City this weekend.
"As we're driving out of Rapid City, a couple cattle here and there in the median strip of the Interstate, which was strange, but then large, large groups, a couple dozen cattle up alongside of the fence lost," Weber said.
According to the South Dakota Farm Families organization, the loss of livestock from the blizzard is expected to be in the thousands. But it could be awhile before they get any federal help.
According to a statement released by Senator Tim Johnson's office on Monday: "This major blizzard has killed huge numbers of livestock across western South Dakota. Exacerbating these losses is the fact that the government shutdown has shuttered USDA's Farm Service Agency's offices across the state. As a result, producers don't even have anyone to contact at USDA for assistance in documenting losses."
Despite the shutdown, Ag officials at South Dakota State University are urging livestock producers to document the losses themselves, in case federal help is offered later.
Livestock producers are urged to record:
1) The number of dead animals.
2) The time and labor spent in disposing of them.
3) Document the equipment used and time spent.
4) Pictures or video, with the correct time and date.