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Heartbreak in the Heartland

October 9, 2013

Robbinsdale-Cattle-kotatvI’ve been watching the reports from South Dakota as much as those from the circus in DC. Like the Nashville floods and other disasters, people pretty much ignore the flyover states.

There’s the blog today of how to help. There’s photos of hundreds of cattle, entire herds or part of herds lost as they tried to find shelter in a draw that become their death.

Rain, followed by blinding snow pummeled animals and ranches still in summer/fall mode. Several feet of snow drifted, and chilled the animals not yet in their winter coats.

These are animals on pastures – the grass fed beef so many claim to be fond of. Demanding more of.Like the majority of breeding operations, cattle are not in feedlot barns but out on pasture. Some barns and buildings collapsed from the amount of snow.

Tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of cattle were frozen – their black hides contrasting against the melting snow. Horses died in their pastures. Those surviving may be wandering, lost having gotten over drifted fences and cattle guards, disorientated and trying to get home.

America wants animals out of pens. They want the open pastures – which is what most farmers and ranchers do. Like chicks caught in spring downpours, outdoor life isn’t always kind. It can be brutal. It can be deadly.

There may be as many as 200,000 animals killed – some estimates 5% of the cattle in the western South Dakota plains. While officials in DC bicker about details, these folks are absorbing a loss of $1,000-1,500 per animal. Run that total quickly – possibly hundreds of millions of dollars. Although fundraisers are started, it’s but a piddly drop in the bucket.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut those in agriculture want to do something. We picture our favorite horse or cattle and doing nothing just isn’t right, but anything done is so insignificant.

No one snowflake would bring down a cow or a horse. Several feet of them, after rain, after 80 degree days – that brings devastation. With enough people, maybe we can make a small dent for some of these ranchers. We can’t bring back the years of breeding. We can’t breathe air back in the lungs of those horses. But maybe we can bring a little hope.

Heifers for S Dakota is one effort – donating literally heifers and horses, breeding stock for those hit the hardest.

Atlas Blizzard Ranch Relief is putting together another fundraiser. We’re working on a donation here – however small, may it be a financial snowflake.

It’s often said no one cares about those in agriculture, about those in flyover states. Spread the word America – give a hand up to those not even asking for it, but facing overwhelming loss. The media’s watching Miley and political circuses. Those in agriculture are watching food production.

Be a snowflake of support. Comments of support, a few dollars – it adds up. For those who can spare a heifer, a horse – it’ll help rebuild. Spread the word – the media won’t – let’s make a difference for the ranchers of South Dakota. Everyone reading can do something. Retweet this, share it, spread the word, contact news outlets. South Dakotan Bob Barker has given millions to animal rights causes, but it’s up to ordinary people to help here. Be one.

Atlas shrugged. Don’t let America ignore it.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 9, 2013 11:07 PM

    What is a flyover state? I cannot watch the video, it’s not available to Aussies.

    • October 10, 2013 12:22 AM

      Thanks for stopping by! Many refer to the center part of the US as “flyover country” – that is, many people never visit it or drive through, but fly over it going from one coast to the other (New York to California). The video is a country music singer who had a big hit song called “Flyover States.” The lyric:
      A couple guys in first class on a flight
      From new York to Los Angeles,
      Kinda making small talk killing time,
      Flirting with the flight attendants,
      30, 000 feet above, could be Oklahoma,
      Just a bunch of square cornfields and wheat farms,
      Man it all looks the same,
      Miles and miles of back roads and highways,
      Connecting little towns with funny names,
      Who’d want to live down there in the middle of nowhere,

      They’ve never drove through Indiana,
      Met the man who plowed that earth,
      Planted that seed, busted his ass for you and me,
      Or caught a harvest moon in Kansas,
      They’d understand why god made those fly over states,

      I bet that mile long Santa Fe freight train engineer’s seen it all
      Just like that flatbed cowboy stacking US steel on a 3-day haul
      Road and rails under their feet
      Yeah that sounds like a first class seat

      On the plains of Oklahoma
      With a windshield sunset in your eyes
      Like a watercolor painted sky
      Where like a water color painted sky

      You’d think heavens doors have opened
      You’ll understand why god made
      Those fly over states

      Take a ride across the badlands
      Feel that freedom on your face
      Breathe in all that open space
      Meet a girl from Amarillo
      You’ll understand why god made
      You might even wanna plant your stakes
      In those fly over states, yeah

      Have you ever been through Indiana
      On the plains of Oklahoma
      Take a ride

  2. October 9, 2013 11:48 PM

    Very well said. And now I’m crying again!

    • October 10, 2013 12:25 AM

      My uncle spent most of his life in Aberdeen. I wish there were a handshake or hug or something that would undo this horrible mess, restore the animals. Thanks for all you’re doing…hope maybe it’ll make a pebble’s worth of difference in the ocean of loss.

  3. October 12, 2013 12:05 PM

    Reblogged this on samWOW-Life at College and commented:
    If a storm such as Atlas had hit a major metropolitan area, it would be front page news. But because it hit hardest it South Dakota and and parts of Nebraska and Colorado the news failed make headlines except to those already involved in agriculture or located nearby.


  1. South Dakota Blizzard leaves devastation for ranchers | Agriculture Proud
  2. Storm Update: International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros | Hippies for Horses
  3. They’re Just Animals – Beyond Food | Food, Farm, Life Choices

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