Remembering Atlas

Posted: 10/15/2014

The Farmer’s Daughter


Remembering Atlas

By: Rebecca Christman


A year ago on October 3, 2013, an unexpected winter storm hit western South Dakota. Thick, heavy, wet snow blanketed the plains.  After the storm ended, farmers stepped outside to survey the damage. I can only imagine the horror of walking out to pasture to see the animals that you spent your life caring for buried in snow.


Cattle and the ranchers were not expecting such a severe winter storm to come so early in the year.  The cattle had not yet grown their winter coats, and most ranchers hadn’t yet moved cattle to more protected winter pastures.   


Whether a ranch lost five cattle or a hundred, this was still a devastating loss. With prices close to $2000 for one cow, it takes a lot of money to replace what was lost. And, in many cases, ranchers lost two or three generations of cattle:  the cow, the calf that had been born in spring 2013 and not yet sold, and the calf that would have been born in spring 2014. 


This isn’t just about the loss of money, it’s about the loss of a livelihood. Ranching isn’t just a job, it’s a way of life.


Soon after this tragedy, an outpouring of support came from all over South Dakota and the nation.  Financial contributions and livestock were given to the families affected by the storm Atlas.  Even in a time of tragedy it lifts spirits to know that others are thinking of you and caring about you.  This link will take you to very heartfelt thank you to those that contributed to ranchers affected by the storm.


Walking outside today it’s easy to forget the storm that hit our western neighbors a year ago. For the families affected, it will take many years to rebuild. Estimates say more than 50,000 cattle were lost in the storm. Here we are one year later, and many ranches are well on their way rebuilding what was lost. Take a moment today to remember our Western neighbors that persevered through this storm. 


Listen to this week's radio segment! FARMERS_DAUGHTER-OCT_13TH.mp3


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