When we find people that have a similar purpose, passion, and experiences we create a sort of brotherhood. We find comfort and friendship with those that can relate to us. In our ranching family we recently have dealt with detrimental losses.
You may have seen in the news about several ranches in South Dakota that have lost more than 80 thousand animals. At the beginning of the month a freak storm came along, a storm of several inches of rain, feet of snow, and winds up to 70 MPH. Had this storm come during the winter, when ranchers might have been better prepared, there still would have had incredible losses.
But it wasn’t at a time when ranchers were prepared. Even the cattle weren’t prepared. These cows hadn’t grown their winter hair. These ranchers hadn’t brought them in where they could have been better protected from the wind and rain. Some still had their calves that were weeks from being sold.
And so thousands and thousands of cows and horses walked aimlessly in the blizzard until they dropped to the ground from exhaustion. Here they were covered and smothered by the snow, causing them to suffocate. The rain caused inches of deep mud to stop them in their tracks, leaving them only to stand as they were buried by snow. For some that survived the actual blizzard and freezing temperatures, they later drowned in the runoff from the rain and melting snow. Many are still dying from effects of the cold and may continue to die from any sickness or infection spread by the dead.
These are real families that spend day after day working to raise cattle just like we were are. Can you imagine if this happened to you or me? I hope that you are because so many ranches won’t be able to bounce back from this loss. Not only did they lose calves that would be this year’s pay check, but they lost the cows that would bring in money for years to come.
Ranchers all over can understand, even if only a fraction, what these families must be going through. A sickness runs through the herd, fires blaze through the summer rangeland, or there is one of those freak storms. From experience I know that there is nothing worse than watching your animals dying as you strive to do everything you possibly can. Every minute you are willing them to live. You almost feel silly praying for cows or horses but praying is about the only thing left to do.
I don’t know if there is anything any of us can do, but I wanted to bring this up just so you can be aware. That you can realize what a loss our ranching family has had. We are already in the midst of an uphill battle to keep our lifestyle. At every turn it seems there is another fight that will bring one more ranch down. But please, help our ranching family keeping fighting.