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Cattle producers from South Dakota’s neighboring states, as well as farms as far away as Virginia, are showing the country that in the cattle industry we’re all in this together.

South Dakota state veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven increased his estimate of cattle losses to between 15,000 and 30,000 in western South Dakota; however, other estimates go to 80,000 head and higher. Three South Dakota livestock associations are working to collect funds to assist cattle producers, but another producer outside state lines saw an opportunity to contribute as well.

The Black Hills Pioneer reports Montana rancher Ty Linger established the “Heifers for S. Dakota” Facebook page to generate donations for affected producers. Groups in Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Utah and Virginia are collecting donations and livestock contributions have come from as far away as Oklahoma, Virginia and Arizona.

“We were just thinking about what we could do that would make a difference, something that would matter,” Linger told the Black Hills Pioneer. “A lot of times you hear about hurricanes, tornadoes, and you want to help, you want to send money, but to a ranching community – if you were running say 200 head, and suddenly 150 are gone or dead, that’s a tremendous loss. Most haven’t even been able to sell their calves, so their one big paycheck this year just isn’t going to come.”