Money and cattle from Montana are on the way to South Dakota. Both hoping to add much needed relief to ranchers who suffered devastating losses during an early October blizzard. According to NBC News as many as 75,000 cattle died as a result, posing a big loss for a state with a $7 billion cattle industry.
Monday afternoon we checked in with people in the Gallatin Valley who are part of the recovery effort. Kerry White is part of a non-profit organization in Bozeman called Citizens for Balanced Use. When the group saw just how much damage the blizzard caused, they jumped at the opportunity to help out.
"If you understand, this is the income for these folks. It is what puts food on the table and clothes on their kids," said White.
Heifers for South Dakota is one of those groups White is working with.
"We saw that Ty was coming forward with an effort to do this, we were coming forward with an effort. There is Give to South Dakota that was being formed by the cattlemen's association and the stock growers down in South Dakota. We tried to coordinate and cooperate our efforts to get as much help as we could as soon as we could," said White.
He says donations are pouring in from across the United States.
"We had a person call up, he had some cattle outside of Boise, 40 miles outside of Boise, Hall Montana, there have been a bunch up on the hi-line" said White.
White helps out by serving as a middle man. He helps collect donations and instructs people on how and where they can ship.
"There is a facility in Miles City that he has for a destination and a holding facility. Last week I think around Thursday or so, they made their first shipment," said White.
The first donation sent out by the organization reached South Dakota almost a month after the blizzard. The Facebook post on Heifers for South Dakota says it went to a family who lost more than 50% of their cow herd.
"I heard it was about 500 production animals that went down there," said White.
It is just one of many shipments White hopes to see in the near future.
"We are going to continue this effort for as long as those folks out there are willing to give," said White.
Citizens for Balanced Use and Heifers for South Dakota are continuing to take donations.