RAPID CITY, S.D. — After a disastrous blizzard hit early season in South Dakota, killing tens of thousands of cattle, sheep and horses, several organizations came together to collect financial donations to help provide relief.

Jodie Anderson, the executive director of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, noted that the SDCA, along with the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association and the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association, established the South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund, so if people wanted they could donate to those ranchers and farmers who were greatly affected by the winter storm, Atlas, which hit in early October.

Along with the cooperation of the three organizations, the funds donated to the rancher relief fund will be administered by the Black Hills Area Community Foundation.

Anderson added that a committee has been put together to figure out who will be eligible for the funding and how much each family will be able to receive.

Although she didn’t yet know if the fund would have enough money to help the ranchers buy more cattle, because that will be dependent upon the amount of donations that continue to pour in, she noted that ranchers will be able to use the relief money they receive to help their family get back on their feet, which may include paying bills that are due.

If the fund raises half a million dollars, while that is a lot of money, Anderson mentioned that it would not really be enough to help the producers buy livestock to replace the amount they lost to the blizzard.

People can visit giveblackhills.org to learn more about the South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund and to make a donation.

“People need to understand, that, yes, we deal with winter conditions a lot, but this one was unique because it was a real early storm,” Anderson said, adding that the blizzard was preceded by a wet rain, before the heavy snow came that brought with it blinding winds.