Thousands of cattle, sheep and horses were buried alive beneath snow drifts or died of exhaustion and exposure while trying to escape the storm’s wrath.
In the days that followed, ranchers trudged through the snow desperately searching for any animals that had managed to survive so that they could give them the food, water and medical attention they desperately needed.
If this is the first you’re hearing about this disaster, please take a few moments to read a blog post by a ranch wife whose family is right in the middle of it all, Jodene Shaw.
Here’s an excerpt from Jodene’s post, Broken Dreams and Hearts On the Western Dakota Prairie:
“Driving the roads with ditches filled with dead cattle leaves us in tears with deep, deep heart ache. The sight alone is truly gruesome and traumatizing.
Airplanes are flying over to find those dead and those alive because people simply cannot travel through the oceans of drifts.
People have to document the losses for proof. Taking photos of dead livestock is painful.
There is financial loss, yes. But much deeper than that . . .”
I can not imagine the heartbreak and anguish these farm families are facing.
In the agriculture community, we pull together in times of disaster.
Growing up, I watched first hand as farmers fed their neighbor’s livestock while the neighbor’s child was in the hospital or recruited friends and equipment to help an injured farmer’s family finish the harvest or vaccinate calves.
In this situation, however, most of us are too far away to physically help with the recovery efforts.
It’s going to take more than distance to stop the caring and generous spirit of family farmers across the country. We can help our neighbors recover from Winter Storm Atlas, one tweet at a time.
The Black Hills Community Foundation has established a Rancher Relief Fund to distribute monetary donations directly to rancher led organizations in South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming for the ranching families devastated by the blizzard.
The AgChat Foundation has teamed up with Tyson, the American Farm Bureau Federation and many other agriculture organizations and businesses to raise money for the Rancher Relief Fund.
As I’m writing this post, over $25,000 has been raised through the AgChat Foundation’s online donation drive.
If you’re looking for a 100% free way to help all you have to do is tweet!
On Monday, October 21st at 8pm central the AgChat Foundation (@AgChat)will host a LIVE hour-long tweetcast to raise funds and awareness for the many ranchers affected by Winter Storm Atlas.
I’m pretty twitter savvy but I’d never heard of a “tweetcast” before.
I contacted the folks at AgChat and they said that the tweetcast will give you access to additional content besides just tweets.
Tweetcast participants will hear directly from ranchers affected by the blizzard, see photos and videos showing the effects of the storm all while keeping up with the twitter stream.
The best part?
For each tweet using the #RancherRelief hashtag during the hour-long tweetcast, Tyson Foods (@TysonFoods) will donate $10 to the Rancher Relief Fund up to $50,000!
So whether you choose to join in the tweetcast or tweet from your favorite app on your phone, every tweet with the #RancherRelief hashtag will be $10 more to help the ranching families devastated by Winter Storm Atlas.
So start spreading the word!
Encourage your friends to join in the tweetcast. Start a donation drive in your business, organization, FFA chapter or 4-H club.
These family farmers and ranchers need our help and all we have to do is tweet!