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Rescooped by Summer Rain Reimer from Animal Sciences!

Tens of thousands of cattle killed in Friday's blizzard, ranchers say

Tens of thousands of cattle killed in Friday's blizzard, ranchers say | Animal science |

Tens of thousands of cattle killed in Friday's blizzard, ranchers say October 08, 2013 7:33 am • Daniel Simmons-Ritchie Journal staff Tens of thousands of cattle lie dead across South Dakota on Monday following a blizzard that could become one of the most costly in the history of the state’s agriculture industry. As state officials spent the day calculating the multi-million dollar impact to the regional economy from Friday's storm, ranchers began digging up hundreds of cattle that are still buried beneath feet of snow. "This is absolutely, totally devastating," said Steve Schell, a 52-year-old rancher from Caputa. "This is horrendous. I mean the death loss of these cows in this country is unbelievable." Schell said he estimated he had lost half of his herd, but it could be far more. He was still struggling to find snow-buried cattle and those that had been pushed miles by winds that gusted at 70 miles per hour on Friday night. Martha Wierzbicki, emergency management director for Butte County, said the trail of carcasses was a gruesome sight across the region. “They’re in the fence line, laying alongside the roads,” she said. “It’s really sickening.” Silvia Christen, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, said most ranchers she had spoken to were reporting that 20 to 50 percent of their herds had been killed. "I have never heard of anything like it," she said. "And none of the ranchers I have talked to can remember anything like it." While South Dakota ranchers are no strangers to blizzards, what made Friday's storm so damaging was how early it arrived in the season. Christen said cattle hadn't yet grown their winter coats to insulate them from freezing wind and snow. In addition, Christen said, during the cold months, ranchers tend to move their cattle to pastures that have more trees and gullies to protect them from storms. Because Friday's storm arrived so early in the year, most ranchers were still grazing their herds on summer pasture, which tend to be more exposed and located farther away from ranch homes. Ultimately, Christen said, she believed that more than 5 percent of the roughly 1.5 million cattle in Western South Dakota had been killed. "It's much higher than that," she said. "But I'm not sure where that number is going to land." Jodie Anderson, executive director of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, said the pain for ranchers is now compounded by dysfunction within the federal government. While the government has programs to help ranchers who suffer losses from catastrophic weather events, those programs are in limbo because Congress has failed to pass a farm bill. The legislation is normally passed every five years and controls subsidy and insurance programs for the agriculture industry. Making things worse, because the government is currently in a partial shutdown, ranchers are unable to ask federal officials questions about how they might be reimbursed in the future. "A lot of the government agencies that we would normally be turning to for those answers are furloughed,” she said. “So there's this sort of timing issue that's enhancing the frustration out there in cattle country." The shutdown was caused after House Republicans, including U.S. Rep Kristi Noem, R-S.D., refused to pass a resolution to fund the government unless Democrats weakened or delayed parts of President Obama's 2010 health care overhaul. On Monday, Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., pointed to South Dakota's battered ranchers as another example of why House Republicans needed to continue funding the government without preconditions. "Like the snow storm, the government shutdown is causing major disruptions in people’s lives and every day business," he said in a statement. Whether they are eventually reimbursed for their losses or not, however, ranchers are likely to feel the pain for years. David Uhrig, 31, a rancher in Folsom, said he estimated about 25 percent of his herd had been killed, which meant far fewer calves this spring. “We are looking at years of rebuilding to get back to what we lost,” he said. In the short term, however, Uhrig had far more pressing concerns. Like most ranchers, he spent most of Monday searching his land for stray cattle or sorting out cattle that had drifted into neighboring herds. “It’s not uncommon at this point to find cattle that are five miles from where they should be,” he said. “Which doesn't seem like a lot, but to drift five miles in a storm — that’s a lot.” Dustin Oedekoven, South Dakota’s state veterinarian, said that the next immediate challenge for ranchers would be disposal of carcasses. “That can be a significant source of disease spread, so we want to make sure those carcasses are burned, buried or rendered as quickly as possible,” he said. Oedekoven said disposal was primarily be the responsibility of ranchers themselves. However, the state was also helping ranchers get in touch with haulers that would take carcasses away for rendering. He added that, while the federal government was in poor shape to offer assistance because of the shutdown and a lack of a farm bill, ranchers should thoroughly document all cattle deaths. He said that could include taking photos, collecting cattle tags, or bringing in a veterinarian or farm service provider as an eye witness of deaths. “If you don’t keep good records about your losses you won’t be available for indemnity funds should they become available,” he said.

Via Josh Nelson
Summer Rain Reimer's insight:

There was a blizzard  in South Dakota. They didn't know about the  storm coming .They left the cattles out over night and it snowed  really bad. The cattles got buried in the snow and they can't get out  because the snow was heavy . Over 10,000 cattles got killed by the blizzard. They hadent grown their winter coats to keep them warm because it takes a long time to grow the winter coats. But the blizzard came to South Dakota early then they expected and that why they had died. cause their coats didnt grow all the way in .

Sydney Bolyard's curator insight, December 6, 2013 11:27 AM

This excerpt of an unfortunate event across South Dakota has left several farms without sufficient cattle availability and loss of profit. In not way was this incident the farmer’s fault. This occurrence was completely out of their hands because it was just the weather. 

Josh Nelson's curator insight, December 9, 2013 5:16 PM

Cassie Chriswell:

This all took place in South Dakota!  It was a big blizard that cost a lot of money due to all the cattle lost.  Officals say that it is going to be a multi-million dollar loss due to the calculations.  That's not good!  Winds gusted up to and at 70 miles per hour on that Friday night.  It was so bad because most of the cattle hadent grown a there winter fur coat yet.  Most of the cattle got blown away or frozen to death due to the cold weather.   Estimates we made that 1.5 million cattle died in South Dakota due to the biggest blizard.

Connor Emmert's curator insight, December 10, 2013 10:53 AM

This kinda of thing really sucks. but theres really nothing anyone can do. I think maybe having more shelter may have helped though. the damage is in the millions , not to mention the farmers that dont have that kind of insurance. this is just a crappy thing all around

Rescooped by Summer Rain Reimer from Animal Sciences!

Five Species You Thought Were Endangered That Really Aren't (Including the ... - Slate Magazine (blog)

Five Species You Thought Were Endangered That Really Aren't (Including the ... - Slate Magazine (blog) | Animal science |
Slate Magazine (blog)
Five Species You Thought Were Endangered That Really Aren't (Including the ...

Via Josh Nelson
Summer Rain Reimer's insight:

humpback whales really arnt endangered because of the save the whales . their speices is widely misunderstood.

praying mantises are not at all indagered their are more than 20 diffrent species of mantises. 

clouded leopards thier is no data saying that their species is in decline . we dont here about them cause their almost the last thing on the cat chart , that why poeple think they are endangered.

komodo dragon - they can be come endagered if we keep hunting on them but their not endagered yet . their are about 5,000 wild one spreaded around multiple island.

polar bears their are about 25,000 polar bears worldwide and their are about 19 subpopulation of polar bears .people think their endagered cause of global warming .

Kassidi Cadle's curator insight, December 5, 2013 10:07 AM

I think it's great the "endangered species" are no longer endangered anymore. This includes the polar bear, komodo dragon, clouded leopards, humpback whales, and praying mantisises. Endangered species become endangered to more of what people cause and effect. People are the cause for all 5 of these animals to endangered at one time. The humpback whales were endangered decades ago due to whaling, the mantises were endangered because people were killing them which is illegal in the U.S. The clouded leopards were endangered because of deforestation, the komodo dragon faced endangered because humans were competing for food with them, and lastly the polar bear became endangered because of global warming. 

Josh Nelson's curator insight, December 9, 2013 3:53 PM

Cassie Chriswell: 


Humpback Whales- 

- estimated at 125,000, and today they probably number about 80,000 individuals.


Praying Mantises- 

- illegall to kill then in the United States

- more than 20 species are found in North America 


Clouded Leopared-

- not a leopared at all, but it is the smallest of the big cat family


Komado Dragons- 

- only 5,000 left on tiny little islands


Polar Bears- 

- some people say that it is due to global warming that they became extinct

- only 25,000 polar bears left worldwide 

Olivia Haltom's curator insight, December 18, 2013 9:09 AM

i thought it was intresting to find out these animals really arent endangered.