Today ranchers gathered in Philip to discuss the next steps after losing livestock. It seems no one took a hit like them after the storm, but they believe they will persevere.
Bill Slovec a rancher who attended the meeting says "it was more death that I've ever seen in my life and I've lived here all my life". Slovec has been ranching all his life. And he knows this devastating storm will take a while to recover from. "It's gonna take several years for people to over this". Especially for young producers. "The worst part is we are probably gonna lose some young people and that's the last thing we need in the industry" Slovec says.
But everyone who lost cattle will have to rebuild. Silvia Christen of the South Dakota Stock Growers Association says rebuilding is more than
"Rebuilding really is getting their confidence back,
figuring out what they want their ranchers to look like in the future and
figuring how we can actually make that happen" Christen says. And for that to happen, they first have to take care of
their livestock they have, record cattle loss and restock herds.
"They'll rebuild when they get there mother cows herds
and their herds when they have the production capacity that they had before the
storm that is when they will you know from economic stand at that point they'll be rebuilt" Christen says.
And even after getting back to ranching, things may never be
Christen says "the hits these rancher families took are things they
will never truly recover from."
But Slovec has hope for the ranchers of South Dakota. "The cattle industry is a unique set of people, it's not easy and we all work through it together and we will overcome it"