Spring Storms Hit SD Livestock Producers Hard

Posted: 5/19/2009

Posted by: Steve Dick

With warmer weather and the signs of spring everywhere, it is easy to put the cold and snow of winter behind us.  But, many South Dakota livestock producers will be feeling the impact of several late winter and spring storms for years to come.

An article in the Rapid City Journal stated that the 2009 spring blizzards likely killed tens of thousands of cattle and sheep in the West River region. 

Livestock producers and county extension agents reported losses across western South Dakota ranging from 2 percent to 25 percent.  The Federal Farm Service Agency is currently estimating the total livestock loss, but based on estimates 15 percent to 20 percent losses in the hardest-hit areas, the number of dead calves and cattle could hit 50,000 or more, with a potential economic loss of $25 million.”

Losses to farmers and ranchers also have a tremendous impact on local businesses.  Many local merchants may feel the pinch when livestock producers have less money to purchase supplies, equipment and machinery. 

The federal disaster aid program will likely buffer some of financial losses for producers.  However, farmers and ranchers invest tremendous time, money and effort to keep animals safe and healthy, so this level of loss is a difficult way for many producers to start 2009.


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