Today is Thanksgiving, and I’m spending the day surrounded by family, eating turkey (how I wish it was beef...) and enjoying the company of my loved ones. I hope it never becomes a cliche, but Thanksgiving is our reminder each year to be thankful for how fortunate we are and to count our many blessings.
Thanksgiving is also a time to get into the spirit of giving and help those in need. There are so many people who need our help -- the hungry, the homeless, the sick, the elderly, and our veterans. However, these days, every time I have a bad day on the ranch, I know that someone else has it worse, particularly my neighbors to the west who were struck by the winter storm Atlas in early October.
The storm killed tens of thousands of cattle, and while the devastation will impact the beef industry for years to come, there are many who are stepping up in this time of giving thanks and helping others to help soften the blow of the loss of these cattle.
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I’m so grateful for the Montana-based group, Heifers for South Dakota. Last week, 45 bred heifers and cows were sent to my home state to help the ranchers in need. Another additional 400 head of cattle, including yearling and bred heifers have also been sent to ranchers from neighbors in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota.
What’s more, about $1.5 million has been donated to the Rancher Relief Fund. Ranchers who wish to receive aid can apply to the Rancher Relief Fund. The deadline is Dec. 31, and the organization will then evaluate the need of the ranchers and how many folks are requesting assistance before deciding how much funds each rancher will receive, according to a Fox News report, which you can read here.
While some federal disaster assistance might be approved, it’s certainly not guaranteed, especially since Congress can’t pass a farm bill. So in the meantime, the good folks in rural America are showing the rest of the world how to help their own. I’m so proud to be part of an industry that graciously and generously helps friends in need. Even though my family didn’t lose any cattle in the storm, it’s so nice to know there are people out there who are willing to rally together to provide a helping hand.
So this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the beautiful weather we’ve been having, the health of my family and my cattle, and the generosity of complete strangers who have inspired me to give more and do more for others.
Happy Thanksgiving from my ranch to yours!
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