South Dakota ranchers reel after 'catastrophic' storm leaves up to 100,000 cattle dead By Joshua Rhett Miller
Ranchers in South Dakota fear they may lose everything after a freak storm dumped up four feet of snow in parts of the state last week, killing as many as 100,000 cattle.
Matt Kammerer, a 45-year-old rancher whose family has operated in South Dakota’s Meade County since 1882, told FoxNews.com that he lost 60 cattle in the storm, or one-third of his entire herd.
" ... It’s just dead cow after dead cow, where they’ve gotten caught in dams, streams, fences, you name it. They’re dead everywhere."
- Rancher Matt Kammerer
“You’re talking about $120,000 of assets that are just gone,” Kammerer said Friday by phone. “And we still owe the banks, too. It’s like driving a brand-new pickup off a cliff and still having to make payments.”
Kammerer painted a gruesome scene north of Rapid City, where a record 23 inches of snow fell.
“It’s just unreal,” he said. “There are cattle that are 8 or 9 miles away from the pasture they were in, just lying dead. And within that whole stretch, it’s just dead cow after dead cow, where they’ve gotten caught in dams, streams, fences, you name it. They’re dead everywhere.”
Carcasses of mature cows as well as calves were floating downstream local waterways in droves, Kammerer said, stoking fears of a potential outbreak of disease.
“If you don’t get those picked up and buried, you’re looking at the possibility of disease or possibly contamination,” he said. “You’ve got to get them all picked up.”
more at: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/10/13/south-dakota-ranchers-reel-after-catastrophic-storm-leaves-up-to-100000-cattle/