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Published November 11, 2013, 11:00 AM

Help after the storm

Hard-hit ranchers have several options to consider.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

There’s a growing list of resources, financial and otherwise, to help ranchers in the western Dakotas who lost livestock in the devastating early October blizzard.

The Ranchers Relief Fund, created by the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, has collected about $600,000 so far, says Jodie Anderson, association president.

Decisions about allocating the money to ranchers will be made in the next few weeks, she says.

Ranchers who receive any financial assistance, including donated replacement animals, should check with their accountant about tax consequences, says Dave Ollila, sheep field specialist with the South Dakota State University Extension Service in Rapid City.

The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and the North Dakota Stockmen’s Foundation donated $10,000 to the Ranchers Relief Fund in South Dakota. The North Dakota Stockmen’s Foundation also will accept private donations for South Dakota ranchers and pass along these gifts to the South Dakota fund. Donors are asked to write “South Dakota” on their checks if that’s their intended destination.

The two North Dakota groups have set aside another $10,000 to create the Stockmen’s Aid for Atlas Disaster Relief Fund. This fund will assist North Dakota ranchers who lost cattle in the October blizzard, named Atlas.

Contributions can be made to the North Dakota Stockmen’s Foundation with “Aid for Atlas” written in the memo and sent to 407 S. 2nd St., Bismarck, ND, 58504. These donations will be added to the seed money from the two North Dakota organizations and, later this year, distributed through an application process to North Dakota ranchers in need, according to information from the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association.

Other potential sources of help include:

• The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association has compiled blizzard-related information on its web page. The online address is: snowstormresources.aspx.

• Ranch families in the South Dakota counties of Dewey and Ziebach can attend a special community gathering Nov. 14 at the Landmark Hall in Eagle Butte. The event, sponsored by a number of organizations and businesses, will provide a free meal and information on resources available to ranchers.