Rancher Crisis Fund
A crisis doesn't always blow in trailing a cloud of smoke, or fly in on feathers of snowflakes. It's isn't always the sudden tragedy of a lightning strike, or the snap chill of a blizzard.
Crisis can steal in without a sound, in the rapid multiplication of cells preceding the doctor's downcast face and the pronouncement of "cancer," on the day he wishes he didn't have to be a doctor. It can settle in slowly, as day after day the rain-laden clouds scuttle past, leaving only patches of grass blackened by lightning strikes, and worry.
It can happen in the suddenness of a PTO revolution, the zing and sizzle of a calf at the end of a rope, the beller of a mad mama cow, the fracturing of a pickup window.
The one constant of crisis is the cost. Whether in carcasses, hay prices or "past due" notices, there's always a cost.
In an industry where "neighbor" is a verb, we recognize the costs that crisis brings, and we know that every one of us is a simple rope-sizzle, lightning strike or low-pressure system away from being on the "need" side of crisis.
That's why, as one of your neighbors, we've set up the Rancher Crisis Fund. Being in the ag and the news business, we see first-hand what crisis can do to a community, both good and bad.
This will be an ongoing crisis fund, allowing for the distribution of funds immediately when crisis hits. It also provides a place for ranchers and others to contribute as they feel led, where they know the money will be responsibly managed and fairly distributed.
Anyone in a crisis. A crisis can be medical, weather-related or human-caused.
How do you know they really need it?
The application process requires independent validation of the circumstances, and each situation will be thoroughly vetted. Suspicions of fraud will be investigated and prosecuted, if appropriate.
Where do the funds come from?
As an industry, many people realize the importance of sharing in good times and in bad. We raise money through fundraisers and many choose to donate on their own.
Who decides who gets money and how much?
The funds are distributed by an impartial panel of ranchers and industry members, who review applications on an as-needed basis and award funds accordingly. The panel is entirely volunteer and members are chosen based on character, interest and understanding of the industry.
What's the goal?
Unfortunately, in recent years, we've seen crisis after crisis hit the ranching industry. From blizzards to fires to floods, we've seen wide-spread hardship cast upon ranchers, and have seen an overwhelming response from those in the industry and those who know only what they see on the news. It's heartening when financial support pours in, but in many situations, local organizations are left scrambling to implement a system to accept and distribute those funds, while dealing with all the other chaos caused by catastrophe.
In creating the Rancher Crisis Fund, we aim to have a continual presence, to have a system already in place when crisis arrives, so those who want to give have a credible, reliable organization that will see that the funds will be used where they will do the most good. Those affected have a straightforward application process from a responsive, organized fund that is experienced in dealing with the unique crises facing ranchers.