When disaster strikes, Farm Rescue is there to lend a helping hand

Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 7:13 AM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Agriculture is the number one industry in South Dakota.

According to Ag United, 98% of farms and ranches in the state are family owned and operated, which means when tragedy strikes resources are limited.

Dave Reyelts has owned and operated Needles View Ranch for more than 25 years and has spent his life raising cattle and buffalo.

In 2017, disaster struck after a wildfire from Custer State Park traveled to his ranch and burned more than 500 acres of land, severely affecting his livestock’s ability to graze.

That is when Farm Rescue stepped in to donate four loads of hay.

“You’re wondering what you’re going to do and where you’re going to find extra hay to supplement what you had lost. If Farm Rescue hadn’t come in and donated the hay it would have cost us many thousands of dollars,” said Reyelts.

The non-profit organization, Farm Rescue, provides aid to family farms and ranches that have experienced a major illness, injury, or natural disaster that could negatively affect operations.

From providing any necessary equipment to livestock feeding assistance, and even volunteers needed to plant and harvest crops, the non-profit is ready to help.

“Farmers and ranchers, they only represent about 1% of the population but they’re responsible for feeding all of us. So, each and every farm is important and that’s why we exist. We’re there to help in those times of crisis and get them through a difficult time and get them on to the next season so they can continue feeding the world,” said Dan Erdmann, marketing program manager for Farm Rescue.

Farm Rescue has helped nearly 50 families in South Dakota.