The damage is done. Now, ranchers are looking to the government for some assistance in rebuilding their livelihoods after the blizzard. Tuesday afternoon, Senator Tim Johnson, U.S.DA Undersecretary Michael Scuse and other officials met with local producers to discuss the next steps of recovering from this livestock loss.
The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association brought state and federal leaders together with western South Dakota cattle producers to discuss the impact of this month's blizzard on their livelihoods. The talk mainly centered on the Farm Bill and when there was going to be a decision. The Farm Bill will provide disaster relief programs and funds to help producers.
U.S. Senator Tim Johnson and USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse had a chance to talk to ranchers earlier this month.
Lucas Lentsch, South Dakota secretary of agriculture, sees the need for the Farm Bill to pass. He said "the Farm Bill indemnity program is one of those things of right now they need a helping hand, they are not looking for a hand out, they are looking for a helping hand."
Senator Johnson says this visit was very valuable and he has many lessons to bring back to Washington like how much the Farm Bill is needed here. He said "Lucas will take back the concerns to south Dakota and I will take it back the lessons learned back to Washington DC"
One South Dakota producer provides enough food to feed 150 people.
The direct impact of cattle loss to the state will be a half billion dollars. The indirect impact could be up to $1.7 billion dollars. And so far there has been no federal aid.