By Kristan Krogman
A night out for and in support of our many local cattle and livestock producers has been set for Sunday, February 23. The evening is being sponsored by the Mellette County Cattlewomen and the White River Lion’s Club and was organized in response to October’s winter storm Atlas. Organizers hope both producers and members of the community will come together for an enjoyable evening.
The event begins at 5:30 and will be held at the Norris Community Hall. Roast beef will be provided for the meal and all are invited to bring a salad or dessert to share. A night of good entertainment, with poetry by Bonnie Krogman, is set and fun times with friends and neighbors can be expected.
Free will donations from the evening will be added to the Mellette County Rancher’s Relief Fund that got its start soon after the October blizzard. FCCLA students of the White River School District raised money for the Fund through multiple events and the Mellette County Cattlewomen were designated as the Fund distributors.
The Cattlewomen, along with other interested parties, met recently to discuss the distribution of the funds. Lori Jones with the FSA office and Karen O’Brien, Mellette County’s Emergency Manager, have provided additional information as to where the funds are most needed.
Names of those who were impacted by the storm can still be submitted to any Lion’s Club or Cattlewomen member, and boxes will be available at businesses around White River where names can be submitted. The identity of those who receive funding through the Mellette County Rancher’s Relief Fund will not be disclosed.
A recent report from South Dakota’s state veterinarian says the number of livestock in South Dakota killed by Atlas is estimated around 43,000.
More than $4 million in aid has poured in from around the world and the Rancher Relief Fund (RRF), established by the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association, has seen around 600 ranchers applying for aid from that fund.
The local MC Relief Fund differs from the RRF in that all the money from the MC Relief Fund will go to folks directly impacted here in Mellette County.
Aid in the form of the recently passed Farm Bill is also expected soon. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last week that it plans to have livestock disaster programs that were recently reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill available for sign up in 60 days. The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), expected to be most helpful to those who faced losses as a result of the storm and other disasters, provides for a 75% fair market value reimbursement rate on lost livestock.