The Farm Credit System, a national network of cooperatives that provides financing and related services to agricultural producers, agribusinesses, and rural infrastructure providers, today announced a $175,000 donation to the South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund. Five Farm Credit entities have partnered to assist the relief efforts including AgriBank (St. Paul, MN), CoBank (Denver, CO), Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica; Omaha, NE), Frontier Farm Credit (Manhattan, KS), and Northwest Farm Credit Services (Spokane, WA).
Established by the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, and South Dakota Sheep Growers Association, the South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund will assist livestock producers impacted by Winter Storm Atlas. Heavy rain, followed by up to 55 inches of snow in the state’s western region, killed tens of thousands of farm animals over two and a half days in early October. Experts predict that it will be several months before the full economic impact of the storm is determined.
“This ‘perfect storm’ was devastating emotionally and financially to ranchers,” said Lyndon Limberg, a member of the AgriBank board and a cattle and grain operator in eastern South Dakota. “All cattlemen take good care of their livestock and spend generations improving their cow herds and get emotionally attached to their cattle; that’s just who we are. Calf prices have gone up and rebuilding herds will cause real financial stress on people.”
As a mission-based provider of financial services dedicated to supporting rural America, Farm Credit is committed to standing by our nation’s farmers and ranchers in good times and in bad. Farm Credit’s donation is intended as a first step in helping South Dakota’s livestock producers rebuild their lives and their operations.
“All of us are touched by the enormity of the loss these producers have experienced,” said Doug Stark, president and CEO at FCSAmerica, which provides credit to more than 11,500 farmers and ranchers in South Dakota. “Farm Credit stands ready to assist our customers to restore their working capital. In addition, we hope that our donation to the South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund will help to meet the immediate and critical needs of those most severely impacted by this disaster.”