How the Rancher Relief Fund process works - KOTA Territory News

How the Rancher Relief Fund process works

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Ever since the October blizzard the Rancher Relief Fund has received an outpouring support. So how does the  relief process work? And are the ranchers who need it most getting those funds? Several organization were involved to make sure the right people got help.

Last October, rancher Scott Shoun was looking for his dead cattle. He found out he lost about a third of his herd. Now things are looking up for Shoun.  

"I was a lucky one. I had a whole string of two year old heifers that were calving this year. Got my numbers right back where they were," said Shaun.    

He also was able to receive some help from the Rancher Relief Fund.  

"The support has been great from the Rancher Relief Fund. It is just unbelievable," said Shoun.

So how does the Rancher Relief process work? Different organizations including the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, Lutheran Social Services, and Catholic Social Services came together.  

"We tried to get the numbers down as far as what people were reporting. Get a process that we would be able to get money back to the people as soon as possible," said Duane Cavanaugh, with Lutheran Social Services.

Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Social Services are in charge of the casework.  

"What the Stockgrowers Association asked was that they not be privy to who had applied and who hadn't," said Jim Kinyon, Executive Director of Catholic Social Services.

They also checked up on the applicants.  

"We decided to do a lot of that calling. To actually contact those families and call those families and visit with them about those losses," said Kinyon.

Organizers say they think the process worked.  

"We feel very confident that our applications were done properly. Nobody can guarantee 100 percent accuracy, but I think we are dealing with a pretty honest group of people," said Silvia Christen, Executive Director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association.

More than $5 million has been donate and more than $4 million of it has been distributed to ranchers.

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