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No Money For SD Ranchers?

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Will the federal government step up and help the ranchers in South Dakota who were hit by the Atlas blizzard?

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place in looking out for her constituents. The tea party conservative is South Dakota’s lone congressional representative, and she has been consistent in her voting to limit government and cut spending. Now she is finding it difficult to find cooperation from some colleagues in acquiring federal help for South Dakota ranchers impacted by early October’s winter storm Atlas.

As ranchers in western South Dakota pick up the pieces after the fall blizzard that killed tens of thousands of cattle, the government shutdown, an expired farm bill and lack of federal aid are leaving the state’s $7 billion cattle industry reeling.

When did helping people who truly need help become a question? If the federal government can find $325,000 to spend on developing a robotic squirrel to study how a rattlesnake will react to it, you’d think it could help taxpayers who really need assistance. Or how about the $3.8 million our government spent to study the “conflict” between humans and elephants?

 

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One cross that Noem bears is that she voted “no” on a measure to help Hurricane Sandy victims a year ago. Representatives from the Northeast haven't forgotten that, and it’s apparently time to return the gesture. But Noem isn’t getting much cooperation from her fellow tea party pals, either. Her petition to get national disaster status for the area is drawing only the sound of crickets.

On a relaed note, I’ve received some repulsive emails from different folks across the country who maintain that the blizzard is all a hoax, or that ranchers are rich enough to weather the losses on their own. Ranchers don’t need or deserve a government handout, they contend.

The affected ranchers lost anywhere from 5-100% of their cattle herds; this is a blow to a lifetime of work and achievement. While those affected don’t live in a populated area, these ranchers and lost cattle are integral to our nations’ food security.

Thankfully, there are grassroots efforts underway to help these ranchers. Many good, well-intentioned folks across the country are donating their time, talent and treasure. These are efforts that are greatly appreciated, and attest to the virtue and generosity of folks on the land – we look out for each other. Unfortunately, Congress doesn’t share that same caring conscience.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Congress should help the South Dakota ranchers? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

More Winter Storm Atlas information:

5 Resources For South Dakota Ranchers Hit By October Blizzard

Cattle Death Toll Rises As 'Atlas' Blizzard Recovery Continues

Relief Fund Established For South Dakota Ranchers

Rancher Details "Gut-Wrenching" Pain From Cattle Lost In SD Blizzard

Early South Dakota Blizzard Leaves Thousands Of Cattle Dead

Ranchers Will Prevail After Winter Storm Atlas Devastates Cattle Herd

Discuss this Blog Entry 52

Adam (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

http://hushmoney.org/Davy_Crockett_Farmer_Bunce.htm
Hi Amanda, as a cattle producer myself I have great sympathy for and can't imagine what South Dakota producers must be going through. However, it is not the federal governments job to pay for this, the hurricane, or the robotic squirrel for that matter (although I would prefer if the money be spent it take care of hard working ranchers). The state gov't may be a different story. There is no doubt our government has a spending problem, is out of control, and is outside of their constitutional powers. I do strongly encourage citizens to help their fellow man and have included a link to an article of Davy Crockett learning this the hard way (from a farmer no less)!

Ed Fowler (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

I do not see your Link and would love to read it!

All I ever asked the government to do was leave me alone. I still feel that way!

Adam (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

hushmoney.org/Davy_Crockett_Farmer_Bunce.htm‎

Ed Fowler (not verified)
on Oct 23, 2013

Thank you for that link, I got an education today!

Hollis Thaxton (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

So you send us one of these tea party conservatives to shut down the government and now you want a government handout? Elections have consequences. Why not get a handout from your local or state government? Or ask the Koch brothers. Reminds me of a quote of William Cohen "government is always the enemy, until you need a friend."
I am all for helping the ranchers. I was for helping the Sandy victims too.

Spring Valley Farm (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Bravo. I could not agree more.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

I believe the fed. gov. has a right to help the ranchers in the South Dakota region for there cattle losses due to the storm. It is as much a hardship for them (or more) than the other recent storms on the coastal areas. If the gov. can spend ungodly amounts of $ on stupid studies that have no bearing on things that have no impact on life. This is our food supply that we are talking about. The farmers and ranchers are the people that feed us all. Without us we will never have the food on the table to feed us, the U.S., and the world. These kind of losses will be hard to recover from in a lifetime. It will put most family farms out of business for good. And this is what we are loosing is good solid family farms. These are individuals that work hard for what they have and produce, they are the backbone of America.

-Bill Gallagher-Penn State (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Hopefully funds will be allocated for the ranchers -a storm that many of them faced.
It was a great loss and Congress needs to step up and totally support the situation-even the President should help out as it seems that he has helped other such situations-like "Sandy" last year. .

slim (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

These ranchers have spent decades paying taxes. If they could have kept the money the federal government has demanded of them all these years then there could be an argument made about assistance. However that's not the case. Maybe if Washington had the money back it spent on cell phones and contraceptives in order to buy votes it would be a little easier to help hard working productive Americans. D.C. is a complete disgrace if they don't lend help to these ranchers.

Just another cattlemans opinion!

Spring Valley Farm (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

No point in cherry picking. Most of our expenses are with the Defense Department. Do you not want to contribute to that worthy endeavor? That is, aren't ranchers part of the USA? I am a Virginia cattleman and am in favor of helping SD cattleman as well as urban and rural poor folks. "One man's entitlement is another man's boondoggle. Why is it that we have become so selfish. Spread the wealth and eat more beef.

Scott Christensen (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

I believe the fed. gov. has a right to help the ranchers in the South Dakota region for there cattle losses due to the storm. It is as much a hardship for them (or more) than the other recent storms on the coastal areas. If the gov. can spend ungodly amounts of $ on stupid studies that have no bearing on things that have no impact on life. This is our food supply that we are talking about. The farmers and ranchers are the people that feed us all. Without us we will never have the food on the table to feed us, the U.S., and the world. These kind of losses will be hard to recover from in a lifetime. It will put most family farms out of business for good. And this is what we are loosing is good solid family farms. These are individuals that work hard for what they have and produce, they are the backbone of America.

Spring Valley Farm (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

I disagree. The government does not have a right to help us cattleman when disaster strikes. Instead, government has the obligation to help us as we are all in this together. Working ranchers and factory workers are all highly valued. Stop dividing us. We are all important as USA citizens.

Maria Norcia Santillanes (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Yes, they should help the Ranchers just like they help other devastated areas that are hit by natural disaster. Decision to do so should not be entwined in politics.

Spring Valley Farm (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Amen

Doug (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

My heart goes out to those suffering.
I hope I am not considered replusive for saying so but where does it end? Our government is on a spending spree that will bankrupt our children's future. I owned and operated a small business, I had no safety net. If bad weather destroyed my business, I was out of business. In the beginning I had no financial reserves, I worked hard and built my own safety net.
Where does it end? Life is full of risks when we look to the government to make our life risk free, we wind up losing our freedoms. I lost a lot of my clients when they lost their farms due to run away inflation in the 80s. The government steped in to help but they selected who was worth saving and who was not. Our country is trillions of dollars in debt, where does it stop?

BC (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

There are still ignorant people out there who have no idea what it takes to run a cattle ranch or farm. If they only knew how many dollars it takes to stay afloat, and the very hard work and worry,maybe they would stop spouting off.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Yes we should help Ranchers Obama"s tribe"s get money every month.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Of course SD ranchers need and deserve help. As to Rep. Noem, she and her fellow Tea Partiers cannot have it both ways.

Spring Valley Farm (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Agreed. We are all in this together. The Tea Party supporters are a train wreck. How is it that the SD congresswoman votes against help for Sandy but asks help for SD cattleman. Oh I see! One man's entitlement is another man's boondoggle. I raise cattle in Virginia, and we get no help from the federal government. If we have a disaster here, we may need all the help we can get.

James Tigner (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Yes I think the SD ranchers should receive disaster aid, but if I were a T party believer I wouldn't. What goes around comes around.

Lee Kissinger (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Isn't this just like our currant administration! help every minority or religious group as long as they are muslum or black! We'll help you as long as you are not white! Racest by all means but know one will call it out because white people are the only ones who can be racest.
That aside is there anything set up to donate animals or calves to ranchers who have lost cattle? I would be interested in hearing if there is or will be something set up. A calf maybe a long term fix but when you have lost everything it could be a new start.
There is truly a need for something. Our government can't be counted on for anything anymore. so we need to help our own.

on Oct 22, 2013

Try the website website www.sdcattlemen.org.

John Haskell (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Replace "Ranchers" with "seaside residents" above and you will understand how everyone in the NE thinks about Sandy relief. South Dakotans voted for a Congresswoman who would get the government out of their lives so they could be self reliant. And that's what they're getting. What's the problem?

on Oct 22, 2013

I am a cattle producer in MS. I feel for those in SD affected but why do they deserve help when the Sandy victims don't? The Sandy vivtims chose to build houses in an area affected by hurricanes. The SD farmers ranch in an area that has snowstorms. They both should assume the risks for their own choices. I also agree that none of those other projects should have been funded. To get the Federal Government under control we have to quit taking the attitude that everything needs to get cut, but my favorite program is OK to fund.

Johnny

Butler (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Naturally the Obamanation in congress would not step up to help that would allow rural American folk to remain self sufficient and supplying a source of protein not provided directly by the government. Anyone who thinks that the ranchers can handle this on their own are absolutely right however they may choose not to feed the rest of the country and just take care of themselves. Ranchers are resourceful and will stick together to survive like they have for years.

houstoncutter (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Nothing for anyone

J. Stauffacher (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Government never helped me ever, Nixon basically broke me 73.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Don't the have insurance?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

There is no affordable insurance for cattle and some states have no insurance available for cattle. There is only one insurance company that covers in my area . I have a quote for 6 months of coverage that would be $21 per pair and only covers smothering during a blizzard, not hypothermia. If you lose more than 100 head the rancher would have to pay for 20 posts on the cattle (at $75-100 each) and if any lesions are found on the lungs the insurance company will not pay for the % of cattle with lesions. Chances are the vet will find a couple of lesions in older cattle, and you will have to prove water in the lungs, otherwise they froze to death and that is not covered. The insurance also covers other death loss like lightening that would probably occur during the summer when you aren't covered unless you want to double your cost to about $41.00/ head. The expected average profit for ranchers in 2012 is $180-200/ head....this is without insurance costs included. Most ranches (about 31%) run between 100-499 head. If you take another $41 per head off of that profit for a years worth of insurance you are sending 20% of your profit to the insurance company. This insurance will be on top of the insurance that you already pay for your farm buildings and equipment which again can be 20+% of your profits. Soon your are giving all of your profits to the insurance company and you have nothing left to live off of. So that is why most ranchers do not have insurance on their cattle...because it is not affordable.

W.E. (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

It’s a crying shame that there are no longer enough real independent farmers and ranchers in this country to have any political influence at all. And I’m sorry that South Dakota’s ranchers trusted the Tea Party. These ultra-conservatives are not known for sharing. Sharing is considered a “liberal agenda,” unfortunately, instead of a Christian one. Thank goodness for neighbors and distant friends! Speak up and vote if you want effective representation. In the mean time, maybe ranchers will be better served to set up a state-wide appeal for help from the public. Provide an address and other farmers and ranchers like us will send donations. If South Dakota wants help, keep the long-term effects of the disaster on real families in the news.
Living in a region that has endured more than a half-dozen natural disasters over the past decade, our hearts go out to those ranchers who lost their cattle and their livelihoods to the Atlas storm. But we didn’t get any federal government help during the floods, the tornadoes, the extreme droughts, or the blizzard—only after the record-breaking 2009 ice storm. We had to re-fence our whole farm and did get some financial help with materials and extra hired labor. But much of the “help” we got was only more discouragement:
We spent all of our free time for several months sawing, trimming, dragging and gathering a huge long windrow of broken branches, and had piled them beside a private farm road to use to fill eroded gullies and washes on our own property after the disasters. Meanwhile our government representatives sent out-of-towners who were paid about $80 per truckload to haul away broken tree branches which someone then got to grind up to sell as mulch. Without asking us, strangers drove onto that private dirt road on our property and hauled away at least twelve large truckloads of our work, capitalizing upon it in the name of government aid. They also sawed down some very slightly damaged thirty-year-old trees and hauled them away. Some help.

Albertaguy (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Such a tough go for the American ranchers over the past few years. You guys are right, it is your food supply that the government is not supporting! However, us up north here in Canada sure do remember that time you closed the border down to our beef, now all Americans are going to pay, as you have a shortage of animals down south. THANK YOU for making our bank accounts bigger up here.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

I think that nearly every one is failing to recognise what is right under thier nose. We have an AG industry in this country that is tapped out. After several years of runaway expenses then last years drought, many operators were at thier financial limits. Not just in Western SD but in nearly all of the nation. With $7 corn farmers around the WORLD put plows to the ground at break neck speed. AG real estate became the "Safe Haven" for investors driving it to unsustainable high prices (which by the way allowed many to borrow more to get through the drought). With untold MILLIONS of new acres of corn we will be lucky to see break even prices for corn.When the forced sales come to Western SD cattle values will soften and that will put more producers in jeopardy which in turn will be sold out. Then as the AG land prices begin to soften due to farmers losing money caused by the lowest corn prices seen in a decade, and ranch land being marketed in SD by producers that were wiped out by the storm the ripple will start. Just like in the "80's" times 10.
This may very well be THE TIPPING POINT. The ripple effects could make the Banking collapse look like a "Bad Day", WHY? Because we all have to eat something. The fall of most collapsing nations begins with a lack of food.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

No way, business has risks. Tax payers should not shoulder the burden to help business people make a profit.
I have cattle and roots in Texas and Alberta. I feel bad for the stockman, but they are also business people that need to mitigate risk.
Stockmen have been dealing with the drought for the last 4 years.
People need to quit asking for handouts from taxpayers and business especially.
And by the way, the farm bill is Obama's food stamp increase for the term. Nothing good comes out of the DOA.

Mark Mulhall (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

As Sister Simone of Nuns on the Bus told the U.S. Congress, and Paul Ryan in particular, some catastrophes are so big, private concerns cannot financially handle the disaster.

However, you, South Dakota voters, elected who you voted for and if you don't like it, look in the mirror. One day Tea Partyian Rick Perry boasts that Texas is leaving the Union. The next day he asks for Federal aid to assist victims scorched by wild fires. Votes have consequences. ( I wish the ranchers could get Federal aid).

CattleBanker (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

What I would like to see is a more equality between farmers and ranchers. Farmers have the luxury of crop insurance which is heavily subsidized from USDA/RMA. As it stands, the rancher would only get cents on the dollar through the Livestock Indemnity Program through USDA. Why can't the cattle producer also have that warm fuzzy comfort of subsidized insurance for their livestock/market livestock crop? We need a new, improved farm bill with equality for rancher!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

And there has not been any LIP for 2 years and it is yet to be seen if it will be in the new farm bill...if there is one.

Charlie Vaughn (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

I raise cattle in NW Az. I can't believe the blame that's tied to this issue. Everyone has witnessed how the powers that be can manipulate the government and control its resources. The sequester and the government shutdown have shown us how the powerful can drive agendas while ignoring the impact on the middle class who drive this economy such as ranchers. I want to see the ranchers in SD get the assistance they need. Forget about whose right and wrong, you just don't kick a man when he's down.

stan (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

As long as the Tea party holds their ground in fighting for ultraconservative government there will be little compromise. As a Republican I resent their stand. We can not allow the far left or the far right to carry our government deeper in debt. The last 4 years of drought caused my cow numbers to drop by 35%. (Many others sold out entirely.) We did not get any government help. We should have had some help as should SD. I have no answers.

Spring Valley Farm (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Totally agree and I feel your pain. Dump the Tea Party. We are all of us in this together.

Iowa Farmer (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

One great way to help is to get involved with the Heifers for South Dakota program initiated by Montana rancher Ty Linger. Their website is www.helpforsouthdakota.com They can also be found on facebook.

Slave to the Economy (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Bit off point but why is it okay for townsfolk to get by without paying taxes and then go into a default mode and its ok to pay cents on the dollar. But if a farmer/ rancher defaults they cruisify him.

Virginia cattleman (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

I am sad for the ranchers and more so for the animals lost in the snowstorm. Weather is a risk every farmer has to manage no matter what we produce, animals or vegetables. In our mountainous areas, we have winter weather that prevents us from accessing remote pastures, so when winter storms are predicted, we are vigilant to move our animals close to the barn and hay supply where they can be fed and tended. I wondered all along why these ranchers left their animals so far away that they could not even access them by tractors for feeding when this storm was predicted days in advance. Even if these cattle were insured, it is the ranchers' responsibility to do everything possible to mitigate their losses. When we suffer losses on our farm due to our inexperience, lapse in judgment, or even environmental issues, the last thing I would consider is to ask someone else to bail us out. We take responsibility for our own losses.

Keith Evans (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Tea Party candidates like Rep. Noem went into Congress with a plan to not work with anyone who didn't agree with their values -- no compromise. Now the ranchers in South Dakota are reaping the results of this type of politics.

Keith Evans

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

ye shall reap what thou shall sow. seems that this is another tea party who says do as I say, not as I do

on Oct 22, 2013

I want to see a reduction in government and entitlement programs as much as any Tea Party conservative and I'd like to think they can accomplish some reforms to reduce the rampant out of control spending that's business as usual in the beltway. If we had our spending under control it might be very possible to have disaster aid funds available for situations like this and other big wrecks with out breaking the bank.
But here is the problem if we don't keep those ranchers on those ranches.
BIG non ag money is going to buy up the land and experience tells us that is never good for agricultural production or the communities it supports.

Maybe part of the answer is low, low, low, interest loans and some tax relief for those who are unable to get back into production without some help.

on Oct 22, 2013

We need an affordable COWBama Care law!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

These losses are devistating and heartbreaking but you have to remember once you take the government's money you are also allowing them to dictate how you run your business. What if in response to the giving of this money it comes with regulations that say you need to build X square feet of shelter every X acres, or that cattle need to have so many people available per care per head. Once you take money from the government you give up your freedom and allow them more control

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

The remarks from the drought region of Texas needs to have a reminder that he had the chance to sell his cattle. SD there was no choice, they died in a two day blizzard. Dead gone no income, plus the factory was gone. Most people in the cow business are in it not because they think they will get rich, its a Passion ! If it were not for that passion America, beef very well could cost twice as much or more. These families need help with the basics, food, heating oil and maybe even lunch money for school.
The assistance the gov (may or may not ) give these cattle people will be used to purchase more cattle which in turn will generate taxes to be paid back to the government. It will also help save hundreds of small town businesses. They need assistant now not next year.

Karen (not verified)
on Oct 23, 2013

I think most here forgot the message of Davy Crockett, who as a senator refused to give a measly 10K to the poor widow of a great Tennessee citizen and patriot. He was roundly criticized, but he stated "It's not mine to give." And it isn't the federal governments to give. It's ours, and private efforts have already been and always are speedier and more effective than anything the fedgov does. The pettiness of this Congress should serve as a lesson. They are petty men and women, and it isn't theirs to give.

In fact, I've heard that the ten commandments actually forbid lying, stealing, coveting and killing -- all primary activities of Washington DC, since pretty much the beginning.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 24, 2013

Tea party folks are hypocrits, what a surprise!

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