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Governor Encourages Donations To Rancher Relief Fund

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO AM) – Gov. Dennis Daugaard is encouraging South Dakotans to assist ranchers who have experienced losses in the recent blizzard by donating to the Rancher Relief Fund.

“I have driven across western South Dakota and seen the devastation from this storm firsthand,” Gov. Daugaard said. “With the government shutdown and no farm bill in place, we need South Dakotans to help their neighbors. Many concerned individuals are wondering how they can help, and this fund will provide a way.”

The Rancher Relief Fund has been established by the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, Stockgrowers Association and Sheep Growers Association, in conjunction with the Black Hills Area Community Foundation to provide support and assistance to impacted producers.

“Like our ancestors, we will persevere in the face of hardship by helping one another. Our ranchers need to know that they are not facing this alone,” said Gov. Daugaard.

To donate to the Rancher Relief Fund, visit www.giveblackhills.org and search "Rancher Relief Fund." Donors can also mail checks to Rancher Relief Fund, PO Box 231, Rapid City, S.D. 57709.

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture has conducted an aerial survey of the affected region and continues to work with the Brand Board, Animal Industry Board and Office of Emergency Management to coordinate response efforts.

The South Dakota Animal Industry Board encourages producers to submit information on livestock losses by calling 605-773-3321.

Producers should document all livestock losses with pictures, vaccination and hauling receipts, or any other records for possible future use in disaster relief programs. Third-party verification is recommended.

Individuals experiencing disaster-related stress should contact a local community health provider or call Youth and Family Services in Rapid City at 605-342-4195 or 605-342-4870. Information is also available athttp://dss.sd.gov/behavioralhealthservices/community/outpatientservices.asp.