Character

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The character shown by the Western South Dakota farmers, ranchers, and community members is a blazing example of what kind of people live this life.  Through all the devastation, heartbreak, and condemning words, they are trudging through and picking up the pieces.  May GOD bless each and every one of you dealing with the losses– whether your own loss or helping someone else with theirs.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  Ephesians 4:29

As for those condemning…  Animal cruelty?  Seriously?  These livestock losses were NOT because of animal cruelty or neglect.  I’ve read some comments posted on the internet on news stories about the storm and the storm losses.  I am NOT at a loss for words.  I have lots of words for these people.

First of all, to the person who posted that his family used to ranch and they never lost a cow.  Baloney.  That is like saying “I was once a member of a family and we never had a death.”  Phooey.  People die.  Animals die.  It is the circle of life.  We lost our old cow dog earlier this summer.  It was not due to cruelty.  He was  a member of our family, he was old, and he died.  The circle of life.  I believe this person also stated that ranchers should only have the number of cows that can all fit in their barns at one time.  Again… Baloney.  It is hard to make a living with only the number of cows that can fit in your barn.  In addition, there have been cases where livestock in a barn perished from suffocation.  So what comment would those passing judgement have in a case like this?

This is NOT the time for comments condemning these ranchers for their losses.  I would bet that many of these men and women were risking life and limb trying to find their livestock before and during the storm trying to make sure they were in safe spots.  I am equally as sure that as soon as possible after the storm had subsided that these same people were out looking for their livestock to try to make sure it was okay, to make sure that it had food and water, making sure that it was safe, and digging to get to livestock that was covered with snow to try to save it.  To those passing judgement, did you even do this for your next door neighbor?  To those passing judgement, did you push your way through snow drifts even 50 feet to make sure your neighbor was not suffering?  These people were traveling many miles, on foot, on horseback, on snowmobiles, on four-wheelers, to check on their own stuff AND to help their neighbor.  Is this what was going on in your community?  Is this what those condemning the ranchers and farmers were doing?

It is easy to sit behind a computer and pass judgement on someone else.  It is easy to stick a pen name on your response to really NOT put yourself out there and be judged.  Isn’t it funny that it is so easy to judge others behind a fake name?  These people suffering losses aren’t afraid to share their name and their story.  They aren’t afraid to put it out there and be judged.  They have broad shoulders and are carrying the weight of the world around on them most days.  They are proud people with LOADS of character and strength.  Their hearts are broken.  Many of them won’t make it through the financial hit from the loss and have to sell out.  Some of their relationships won’t last due to the strain from this event.  The stress of the losses and hardship will make some physically ill.  Still want to pass judgement?

Instead of passing judgement calling us “money-hungry cattle barons” why don’t you pick up a shovel and go help them?  You go help dig out the livestock and watch their heart-break with each new carcass they find.  You can dig through snow drifts looking to see if there is anything underneath all the snow.  You can cut out ear tags  and try to find brands to see if the livestock is even yours or if it is your neighbors.  You can go help pull livestock out of the dams and creeks and listen to the sobs of the world crashing down a little farther while they deal with the aftermath.  You can go walk a mile in their shoes BEFORE you so selfishly and so hurtfully question their character.  I guarantee you that these people would do all they could to help you if you were in a similar situation.

As my friend Mary stated:  “What the majority of America is not comprehending, is the fact that these farmers and ranchers have mortgaged their cattle and calf crop and probably their land (borrowed money using them as collateral) to pay for the things they need to keep their ranch going from day to day such as seed for the next crop, fuel, machinery payments, fence posts and wire, pasture lease payments, cake and hay for winter feeding, salt mineral and medicine for livestock, parts, repairs and supplies, payments if they have purchased cattle for replacements or expansion, bulls, ranch liability insurance, crop insurance, vehicle insurance, taxes..all this stuff costs thousands of dollars. I haven’t even mentioned any living expenses. Now that the calves and cows are dead, there will be no money to pay the banks. Hopefully the bankers will work with these people. We don’t have the luxury of raising our debt limit and we can not borrow our way out of debt. The next course of action if ranchers can’t make their payments is bankruptcy and foreclosure, which means the banks take the ranch away from their owners which may have been in the family for generations. Such an emotional toll as well as financial. My heart goes out to those that have lost darn near everything. It could have been my neighborhood so easily. I pray that the good Lord has his caring arms around these people in the days to come. They will need it. ”  Great words, Mary.  Thank-you.  

Also, for the people who think that they are not affected whatsoever by the loss, let me assure you that you and/or your loved ones certainly are affected.  There are a LOT more uses of cattle then just beef to eat.  I would venture a guess that those thinking this problem doesn’t affect them use beef products whether they think they do or not.  Let me show use some uses of beef.

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For all those asking how they can help, here are some resources.  May GOD bless you for opening your hearts and helping through whatever avenue you choose… whether through prayer, through labor, through encouraging cards and notes, through fundraising efforts, or even through donations of goods, services, or money.  I urge you to keep praying for all those who suffered losses.

Beef Magazine:  5 Resources for South Dakota Ranchers…

Black Hills Area Community Foundation:  Ranchers Relief Fund

South Dakota Cattle Locator website. 

Lost and Found Black Hills Blizzard

 South Dakota Stockgrowers

Atlas Blizzard Ranch Relief and Aid

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18  

To all those suffering losses, please know that you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.  Until next time… JARW

 

 

25 thoughts on “Character

  1. Kim @ Kim's County Line

    Thank you for this post. During prayer time at church choir last night, we prayed for the farmers and ranchers of South Dakota. I realize it’s a small thing, but I do think it makes a difference. Please know that those people making ridiculous comments are in the minority. They don’t speak for me or the majority of other Americans. As you said, it’s easy to criticize. I also saw a South Dakota rancher post a picture of their snow-covered ranchland with a cutline, saying this was a photo of all the PETA people who showed up to help the animals in distress. In other words, all you could see was snow – no PETA people. That’s pretty telling, isn’t it?

    Just some thoughts and prayers from a Kansas farm/ranch wife – Kim @ Kim’s County Line.

    Reply
  2. Carolina

    I am so glad you are setting the record straight. I do not know much about your way of life (although have learned a little bit from your blog) but read some of the comments from some of the newspaper links you posted and there are a lot of stupid people out there giving their ignorant opinions. What I find typical of the lamestream media is that this terrible loss and suffering you are experiencing is not even national news. I have told several people here on the East Coast about it and they did not even know about the devastating storm and the consequences. My prayers go out to you all.

    Reply
  3. acountrycouple

    It amazes me how many people live with one foot permanently inserted in their mouth!! As if people aren’t going through enough and then you have ignorant people saying horrible things. Thank the LORD for all those people who are helping and praying!!! Good post!!!

    Reply
  4. Bud Fetterley

    I grew up around farmers and they were the best neighbors and the hardest working people I ever met. When I read your opinion I was already biased in favor of farmers. I couldn’t help but notice these statements though:
    “It is hard to make a living with only the number of cows that can fit in your barn. In addition, there have been cases where livestock in a barn perished from suffocation.”
    and
    ”What the majority of America is not comprehending, is the fact that these farmers and ranchers have mortgaged their cattle and calf crop and probably their land (borrowed money using them as collateral) to pay for the things they need to keep their ranch going from day to day such as seed for the next crop, fuel, machinery payments, fence posts and wire, pasture lease payments, cake and hay for winter feeding, salt mineral and medicine for livestock, parts, repairs and supplies, payments if they have purchased cattle for replacements or expansion, bulls, ranch liability insurance, crop insurance, vehicle insurance, taxes..all this stuff costs thousands of dollars.”
    It used to be, a farmer could make a living without loans to buy seed (for instance). He could save some seed from the year before and use it to plant. He could raise his cattle on pasture and he didn’t need to finish them on antibiotic laced grains in over-crowded CAFOs . Now the banks and Monsanto have made it difficult for the farmer and weather disasters like this don’t help. I think many of the people who responded by placing their foot firmly in their mouth have a vague notion that farming isn’t what it used to be. That may be true but now isn’t the time to bring that stuff up. The people in South Dakota have been hit by a major disaster and any flaws in the system should have been addressed long ago. For now, say a prayer, pick up a shovel or shut up.

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  5. MS

    I sent what I could to the Ranchers Relief Fund, I hope it is put to good use for those ranchers whom have lost so much. Just wish I could do more. I live in farm country and also find frustration beyond words for those whom were affected by loss during a freak storm, and also frustration for those whom throw uneducated comments directed at the ranchers. All I can say in this instance is that anyone can unfortunately own a computer and type without forethought or comprehension. Personally those people I think watch the USPCA commercials on TV and put human feelings on animals, but don’t understand the workings of a ranch and the sheer vastness of the land, numbers of cattle and just how freak this storm was.
    Sadly enough too is that this was not broadcast, in fact further east nothing had been mentioned about the storm, less alone the losses.
    Prayers to those affected, I hope you can stay strong and pull through this adversity.

    Reply
    1. Ranch Wife Post author

      Thanks MS. I’m sure that Ranchers Relief will put it to great use. There are so many who lost so much. The stories are horrific. Thanks, too, for the prayers. I am sure they are helping more than you could imagine. God Bless.

      Reply
  6. April

    Those that are saying that it was animal cruelty or neglect have never spent time on a ranch. Growing up I hated blizzard days. It meant we were out scooping bunks, spearheading bales and tending the livestock hours before the urban kids get out of their warm beds. After a short time in the house to unthaw our feet and hands and have a quick breakfast we returned to the harsh eliminates to break ice. This cannot be done with winds over 40 mph and 2 ft of snow down. It is impossible to even find to pastures due to the blinding snow. That is the most helpless feeling not knowing how they are doing. It is unthinkable to criticize these ranchers in their time of loss and destruction. Emotionally and Financially it will be devastating. Sarcastically I say if they were as full of antibiotics and hormones as the same critiquing groups says they are, there would not have been the losses since they would be super natural livestock and resistant. Prayers to all of the families that have been devastated by the losses.

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  7. Jenn

    Bravo and Amen!
    Well said and thank you for posting.
    Having grown up in a ranching community and having family who still ranches in western SD, it is nice to hear someone speaking who understands. 🙂
    Thanks again.

    Reply
  8. lisa and dave

    Them poor folks are just spitting out words to see where they splatter. Before they attempt to remove the splinter in our eye maybe they ought to remove the log in theirs.

    Reply
  9. Pingback: Questioning Cattle Deaths in South Dakota | Pretty Work

  10. Becky Mcgregor

    Well from what I understand people want their chickens free range, pigs outdoor, and their cattle confined.
    I know most ranchers don’t have time to check the news or even have electricity yet. God bless them all.

    Reply
  11. Roxi H

    Thank you for writing this. Too many people don’t realize that the world they know is not the same for everyone. I have so much respect for these Ranchers, my heart is breaking for all right now. I was raised on a farm in North Dakota and even losing a calf or three was pretty tough. I can’t even imagine what these folks are enduring now. My prayers to all of you.

    Reply
  12. Leslie McNeil

    enjoyed your response, and as a former ranch wife, and native montanan, i understand. Keep your face uplifted to the One who knows all and sustains us as you go through the valleys before you, and know you are not alone! “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23:5-6).” We support you, we are praying for you all. {beauty from ashes… or make that snow storms?} xo

    Reply
  13. Teresa

    Thank you for your post. It’s a shame that you have to explain these things! I ranch in Canada since emigrating from England in 2002. I would like to share this with the sad folks in South Dakota – I lived through foot and mouth in England in 2001. My cattle and sheep were all slaughtered in the contiguous cull. In other words they didn’t have foot and mouth but the neighbor’s herd did – so they were slaughtered to try and stop the disease as it raged through our area. I know how they are feeling. Broken, useless, helpless, frightened for the future, lonely, and many other emotions. To see your lifetimes work destroyed is absolutely the worst thing – but…. they will re-build – first their strength and then their herds. At the time I thought it was the end but little by little herds were re-built. It changed our landscape for ever as will probably happen in South Dakota but please tell them their smiles will return. We are hard-working, determined people – whichever side of the “pond” we raise livestock. Hang in their guys and gals – it will get better for you. Thinking and praying for you all. Teresa

    Reply
    1. Ranch Wife Post author

      Teresa– I’m crying for you. I can’t imagine those losses, either. How absolutely devastating. Can I have your permission to post this note as part of a blog? I’m writing one more storm blog in the next day or two. Would love to make this part of it.

      Reply

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