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On October 4, a fierce blizzard swept through South Dakota claiming the lives of the livestock in its path.  Chances are the only way you have heard about this blizzard is through social media, because national news groups have yet to pick up the story, and if they have it has been minimal to say the least.

A cow frozen in the South Dakota blizzard.  Image from www.motherjones.com

A cow frozen in the South Dakota blizzard. Image from http://www.motherjones.com

Farmers and ranchers are by no means unaccustomed to hard winters and blizzards.  What made this blizzard so devastating was how early in the year it struck.  Ranchers keep their cattle on more open range during the warm summer months and move them to areas providing adequate cover in the winter.  This storm hit right at the beginning of October, before anyone had even given a thought to moving herds to safer grounds.  Also the livestock hadn’t developed their winter coats.  God created livestock with a built in insulation system that begins to start working as the days get shorter, their coats grow long, fuzzy, and THICK.  We are not into the time of year just yet when they begin to do this.

Cattle with their fuzzy, thick winter coats.  These cows were not victims of the SD blizzard.

Cattle with their fuzzy, thick winter coats. These cows were not victims of the SD blizzard. Image from http://www.debwardart.blogspot.com

The combination of an early storm, livestock being in summer pasture, and the lack of winter coats proved to be devastating.  Ranchers lost an estimated 75,000 cattle state wide.  This blow isn’t quite fully comprehended by the non-agricultural community.  Insurance doesn’t favor livestock producers like it does crop producers, there are often many loop holes to be found.  Also it takes years to not only build up a herd of substantial size, but also to build the genetics within the herd.  Coincidentally the government shut down could not have come at a worse time for farmers.  The Farm Bill ran out on September 30 and since the shut down has obviously been no ones concern.

Image from spiritandanimal.wordpress.com.

Image from spiritandanimal.wordpress.com.

Farmer and Ranches have just been dealt a crippling blow and there seems to be little light at the end of the tunnel.  National news has deemed this story unworthy of substantial reporting and President Obama himself has failed to make an address regarding the tragedy our fellow American farmers and ranchers are enduring.

The best way we can get the news out about the South Dakota blizzard is to continue to click the share button on Facebook, the re-tweet button on Twitter, and of course to blog.  In this way we can hopefully show the South Dakota farmers that yes, some of us do care, unlike the national media and our President.

Sources: dawnwink.wordpress.com & http://dairycarrie.com/2013/10/13/southdakotaatlas/

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