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.
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…
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