SIOUX FALLS, SD -
We know our winter has been long, but ranchers west river are still dealing with the blizzard back in October that killed thousands of head of livestock. Since then many of you have donated money to the Rancher Relief Fund.
Now farmers east river are forking over some green of their own, only a different type.
The October blizzard caused South Dakota ranchers to lose an estimated 43,000 cattle and other livestock.
Now, state ag officials are encouraging those ranchers to apply for donated hay bales.
"So right now we have around 500, that's an approximate number available," South Dakota Department of Agriculture Communications Officer Jamie Crew said.
The hay comes from producers who are enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. They're paid to bale it as part of the CRP management program, but never can use it and oftentimes it's burned.
"This is a great way to really utilize those bales producers already received monetary compensation for management practices to give it to those in need in other parts of the state," Crew said.
All producers in disaster-declared areas are eligible to apply for the bales. The Ag Department will select the producers who will receive the hay based on the number of applications received, the amount of hay available and need.
Ranchers who lost a lot of livestock in the blizzard are now in the process of trying to replenish their herds. It's going to be a costly expense, one that will include providing feed.
The donated hay will hopefully lessen the burdens of the blizzard; bale by bale.
"I have talked to a few producers west river and the blizzard that came through, they definitely have been in a tough situation, Crew said.
Applications will be accepted through March 21. They can be found on the South Dakota Department of Ag's website.
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