Speaking of piecemeal privatization being no way to run a country, Heidi Marttila-Losure scolds our Governor and our Congress for not mobilizing government resources to help West River's blizzard-devastated ranchers:
The provision in the farm bill that would have helped these ranchers expired two years ago and hasn’t been renewed. Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service staff that could have offered some support in this kind of disaster are on furlough. For the most part, these ranchers are now helping one another instead of getting help from anywhere else.
Maybe in other circumstances, they’d be OK with that. But my guess is that the loss of so much of their livelihood has hit them like a punch in the gut. The loss of money is bad enough. Not having an answer to the question “Where do we go from here?” is worse. That’s where the government officials could provide some comfort and direction—if they were on the job.
I’ll give you the link to the donation effort (visit www.giveblackhills.org and search “Rancher Relief Fund”), but I am angry that this is the best our state and nation can do. This is exactly the kind of farming and ranching that keeps our rural places vibrant. The fact that there’s no official monetary help from either the state or the federal government for these ranchers in this dire need is a national embarrassment [Heidi Marttile-Losure, "Livestock Losses Come to One of the Last Independent Links in Our Food Supply," Dakotafire, 2013.10.11].
You know, if those ranchers were just closer to places where people could see billboards, I'll bet the Governor could find more help....
- Doug Wiken notes that Governor Daugaard, Senator Thune, and Congresswoman Noem are making good TV with Republicanly inconsistent calls for federal aid for ranchers. But Noem has spent two years not passing a Farm Bill that could provide that aid.
- Bob Mercer ballparks livestock losses from his car window and stat books: 45,000 to 90,000 head lost in last week's blizzard.
- Rancher Dallis Basel blogs his losses and storm recovery efforts. He just got power back Thursday; he says some neighbors won't get electricity until next week.
- Hope Sickler puts snowstorm horror stories on the front page of Real American Cowboy Magazine.
- Jodene Shaw looks across the snowy plains and finds some salve for broken dreams and broken hearts in electronic communication (note to Mike Rounds: Facebook, blogs, texting... they matter much more than you think).
- A Wyoming expat in the Twin Cities gives clueless commenters what for for questioning why ranchers let their cattle die in the snowstorm.