South Dakota cattle suffered a terrible death toll this week after a snowstorm ravaged ranchers’ cattle herds, leaving a high number of cattle slain and being described a “tremendous” loss. Yahoo reports this Monday, Oct. 14, that the South Dakota ranchers are having a difficult time facing the loss of literally thousands of cattle in the recent blizzard, with the 10,000 to 20,000 carcasses set to be buried in local pits starting this Columbus Day.
The South Dakota cattle are in far fewer numbers this week, following a devastating snowstorm, a veritable blizzard, plowing through western South Dakota, taking a high number of different ranchers’ herds in the process. One rancher, Mr. Heath Ferguson, opened up that the tremendous storm killed over 95% of his herd, consisting of black Angus and Limousin cattle, a blow that totals up to over $250,000 in losses. Over 1,000 other cattle were slain in the snowstorm, as several other herds were roaming at the time in the Ferguson’s massive ranch, 16,000 acres wide.
It is confirmed that nearly four feet of snow struck the Black Hills, South Dakota, region just last weekend, leading to at least two deaths from the blizzard and livestock especially suffering from the freezing cold and biting winds. Worst of all, adds Ferguson, most ranchers don’t have cattle insurance that covers any damage coming from Mother Nature or her powerful storms.
"It's cost-prohibitive for a producer," he said Sunday. "Unless you're a really big operator, you can't afford to pay for the insurance … It’s a tremendous loss."
Although the Livestock Indemnity Program with the federal government might normally assist in such a tragic death toll as this South Dakota Cattle killing, the government shutdown and congressional stalemate at this time has led the farm bill addendum to be in political gridlock at the time.
"We're an independent, pretty self-sufficient bunch, but we need help," Ferguson had to admit.
It is believed that in total from the snowstorm, anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 heads of cattle were killed, and that estimates may possibly rise as ranchers begin to bury the carcasses of the slain livestock and more closely measure their tragic losses.