Rancher Relief Fund is Accepting Applications for Assistance

Rapid City, SD — The Rancher Relief Fund is now accepting applications for assistance from livestock producers impacted by the blizzard.

Representatives of the Rancher Relief Fund founding livestock organizations identified dual priorities for fund distribution – assist those who were hardest hit first and provide financial assistance to as many producers as possible. Based on these priorities, funds will be distributed through the SD Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (SDVOAD), which is comprised of a number of disaster relief organizations.

Assistance application forms are available online at www.RanchersRelief.org. An application deadline of Dec. 31, 2013 has been set in order to assess the number of applications and the severity of the needs of those applicants.

Bob Fortune, SD Stockgrowers President and Belvidere, SD rancher said, “The Rancher Relief Fund was established by livestock producers for the benefit of livestock producers who lost animals during the devastating October blizzard. We’ve identified experienced relief agency partners to assist us in disbursing the funds to those who need help.”

The South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund (RRF) was established by the SD Stockgrowers Association, SD Cattlemen’s Association and SD Sheepgrowers Association at the Black Hills Area Community Foundation to provide support and relief assistance for livestock producers impacted by winter storm Atlas October 4-7, 2013.

“The outpouring of support for the West River ranchers who lost animals during the blizzard has been overwhelming. The response and fundraising for the Rancher Relief Fund has been a great team effort by the livestock organizations, the Black Hills Area Community Foundation and SDVOAD,” said Cory Eich, cattleman from Canova, SD and president of the SD Cattlemen’s Association.

Immediate release of funds to applicants prior to the deadline may occur with the most severe cases. A second funding round may be made available to applicants who have signed up before the December 31, 2013 deadline, depending on continued contributions to the Rancher Relief Fund and the number of qualified applications received.

Recommendations for families who may need assistance will also be accepted and nomination forms are posted at www.RanchersRelief.org. Future updates about the fund will also be posted at www.RanchersRelief.org.
About the Rancher Relief Fund

The fund will be administered by the Black Hills Area Community Foundation in cooperation with the founding livestock organizations for the direct benefit of the livestock producers impacted by the devastating early October blizzard. The Black Hills Area Community Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and will receive 1% of the fund proceeds plus any direct administrative costs associated with the fund.

A Steering Committee consisting of three representatives from each of the three founding livestock organizations established the eligibility criteria for affected livestock producers to receive financial assistance from the fund.

The South Dakota Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (SDVOAD) will work with the impacted families to determine eligibility for the Rancher Relief Fund and other disaster assistance programs and resources. SDVOAD will also be responsible for RRF disbursements to qualifying families.

About the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association
The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association (www.sdcattlemen.org) is a member-driven organization working to advance and protect the interests of all cattlemen. SDCA works to facilitate a profitable business climate and promote environmental stewardship.

About the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association
The South Dakota Stockgrowers (www.southdakotastockgrowers.org) work to promote the independent livestock producers of South Dakota. SDSGA strives to preserve the viability of ranches and rural communities through proper legislation, property tax reform, school funding, and stewardship and land management.

About the South Dakota Sheepgrowers Association
The South Dakota Sheepgrowers Association (www.sdsheepgrowers.org) is the trade association for sheep producers in South Dakota, representing farm flocks and range operations. SDSGA focuses on lamb and fiber promotion on a state-wide basis and keeping members updated on issues affecting the sheep industry.