North Dakota Ranchers Urged to Record Livestock Losses

October 10, 2013

The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association is urging ranchers who lost cattle in last weekend’s snowstorm to keep detailed records of their losses.

Ranchers and industry officials in the Dakotas have said the losses are aggravated by the fact that a government disaster program to help ranchers recover from livestock losses has expired, and ranchers won’t be able to get federal help until Congress passes a new farm bill. Ranchers should make sure they have the necessary records if livestock disaster assistance programs become available, the Stockmen’s Association said.

“The widespread devastation caused by the Oct. 4-5 storm underscores the urgent need to pass the farm bill and provide some reassurance to cattle producers and others who have been significantly impacted,” Stockmen’s Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson said in a statement.

The storm dumped more than 1 1/2 feet of snow on parts of southwestern North Dakota. Ranchers are still tallying their losses, but Stockmen’s President Jason Zahn, who ranches near Towner, said cattle deaths are “substantial.”

“Cattlemen and women are dedicated stewards of their land and their livestock, and losses like many experienced over the weekend take a heavy toll on them, emotionally and economically,” he said.

Dan Christman, who lives a few miles east of Hettinger, where 20 inches of snow fell, said he lost 20 cows and as many as two dozen calves during the storm.

“Most of the numbers of the dead cows don’t even match with the dead calves, so there are cows missing calves and calves missing mothers,” he told The Dickinson Press.

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