Rancher Relief Fund announces final distribution | TSLN.com

Rancher Relief Fund announces final distribution

Thanks to generous contributions from around the country and the globe, the Rancher Relief Fund is set to disburse the last of $5.4 million donated to assist livestock producers in the wake of winter storm Atlas.

Bob Fortune, president of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association said, "The outpouring of support for those impacted by the devastating storm has far exceeded our expectations and we're excited to be able to distribute meaningful contributions to more than 600 ranch families who suffered losses. Thanks to the generous donations from so many individuals and companies, we have been able make a real difference for many of our family ranches."

All disbursements are based on criteria established by a steering committee comprised of representatives of the founding livestock organizations – the SD Cattlemen's Association, the SD Stockgrowers Association and the SD Sheepgrowers Association. In cooperation with the Black Hills Area Community Foundation and representative members of SD Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (SDVOAD), the remaining donations will be disbursed in the coming weeks.

Cory Eich, president of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, said, "With nearly 43,000 head of livestock reported lost by RRF applicants, we know Atlas took its toll on western South Dakota and neighboring states. However, we are pleased to be able to provide timely assistance and, in conjunction with livestock disaster programs available through the Farm Bill, we are hopeful this effort will make a difference in supporting these family businesses and the rural economy. We can't thank the Rancher Relief Fund donors enough."

The RRF Steering Committee has established a goal of closing the fund by June 1, 2014. Until then, tax deductible donations are still being accepted for the Rancher Relief Fund and can be made online by going to the Black Hills Area Community Foundation's website at http://www.giveblackhills.org. For answers to frequently asked questions or for more information on the Rancher Relief Fund, please visit http://www.ranchersrelief.org.

–Rancher Relief Fund