Jacob and Melanie Rausch of Hermosa were the first recipients of cattle from Heifers for South Dakota. The Rausch's suffered more than 50% losses to their cow herd, but were determined to persevere in the pursuit of what they love - ranching.
When Heifers for South Dakota rolled in this week with two trailers full of cattle, 23 head of top quality cows were unloaded at their new home. The donors had given from the best of their herd.
Ty Linger, of Miles City, Mont., set up the ''Heifers for South Dakota'' Facebook page in an effort to get ranchers in surrounding states to pledge cows to those who lost at least 25 percent of their herd.
About 500 head have been donated and more than $40,000 to help with transportation costs. Lingor said the cattle will not be placed in the possession of those who have lost livestock until they will be a blessing rather than a burden.
Lingor said the group plans to make more deliveries Nov. 17-23. Cattle will be hauled to Belle Fourche before going to their new homes. Cattle will be brand inspected, vet health checked, bangs vaccination tag read and loaded for transport.
I'm really pleased with how things have worked and look forward to delivering the rest, Lingor said. The hope is to give 15-20 head to each recipient, with the focus going towards young couples and those just starting out in the business.
Heifers for South Dakota is utilizing the resources of veterinarians, farm and ranch store employees, pastors, vaccine representatives and even producers themselves to properly identify those in greatest need of assistance.
We are so humbled to be an instrument to bring this about, Lingor said. This is our first year of running the family ranch. We readily identify with the losses and are grateful to be able to help them in this way. Making the first delivery was better than Christmas. This what we've been focusing on this last month, and it's the best thing I could be doing. I thank God that He's helping me to be worthy of this.
Nominations of people who will be considered to receive animals are sent to Shane Labrier. A committee goes through the stories and continues to consider potential recipients. For now, 8 to 10 have been chosen from the list of 150 names.
The ones we've called have been so excited, Lingor said, We're looking forward to being able to reach even more by the time we drop off the animals. It's really neat to be a part of this effort.
If you need assistance, or know of someone who needs assistance, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who wish to be considered for the donations should contact email@example.com or 605-644-5787.