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Cattle Deaths Questioned By Uninformed

Following the massive storm that pummeled the Black Hills the first weekend in October, tens of thousands of cattle were killed, causing thousands of people around the country to chime in on national websites asking why so many cattle died, showing once again that anyone with a computer can show the world their ignorance.

Now I’m certainly no expert, but the fact that so many people are questioning the ranchers as to why this tragedy happened, without ever having lived their lives, shocks me.

Seeing responses like “they knew the storm was coming, why didn’t they put the cows in barns?”, and “Ranchers are rich, they’re just looking for a government handout” started to really eat at me. How could someone in New York City ever think they would know more about ranching than a fourth generation rancher from Faith, South Dakota?

I was watching the predictions and NO ONE was talking about what the Black Hills got hit with a week in advance. Even days in advance. I had a couple of friends that got caught in the storm. They never would have driven across the state if they knew that the area was going to get two or three inches of rain, before 30, 40, 50 inches of heavy, wet snow would follow with hurricane force winds.

The ranchers would have needed several days, if not a week or better to move their herds. This was still the first couple of days of October. A week or so earlier, it was still summer in the area with temperatures in the 70s. The initial forecast called for several inches of snow. Then a few days before it hit, the forecast went up to a foot. Then the day before, forecasts went up to 18-24 inches. Still, from what I’ve read, the cattle would have been able to handle even that. But what happened, no one could have expected.

I’ve talked to people who live out that way and know people that have lived there 50+ years. No one can recall anything like they experienced. The western portion of the state, from Murdo to the Wyoming border was closed. tens of thousands of people went days without power. Trees, roofs and more collapsed. This was a devastating storm that no one knew how bad it was going to be until it was completely over.

I came across a blog written by a rancher that has addressed many of the infuriating statements made on national news organization sites that were reporting on the storm that is a must read, especially if you’re one of the people questioning this terrible tragedy. You can see it here.

Think about it. Do you think all these ranchers, who’s life-blood is cattle. It’s their income. The way they provide for their family, keep a roof over their head, food on the table, clothes on their back. Do you honestly think they purposely ignored the forecast? Do you think they want to go through a two to three year period of trying to rebuild their herds? Farming and ranching is a hard life. I have plenty of family members who have done it. Instead of questioning and criticizing, we should be thanking them for what they do and asking how can we help.

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