In The Moment ... June 17, 2019 Show 597 Hour 1

Forage stocks in South Daktoa are running low. How does the soggy spring impact livestock down the road, and what kind of relief is available for farmers and ranchers from Congress?

U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson explains the bipartisan efforts in Washington to answer the call for South Dakota producers.

Avera Health

It’s been a tough spring for the state’s farmers and ranchers.  Wide-spread flooding earlier this year has pushed back planting--and that’s just the most recent challenge for South Dakota’s ag producers. Financial uncertainty can lead to anxiety and depression. But now there’s some help for farmers and ranchers, and those who work closely  with them. 

Walt Bones runs a family farm about 15 miles southwest of Sioux Falls. He grows corn and soybeans and raises cattle. It’s another rainy spring morning when he answers my call from his truck near his fence-line feed bunks.

Avera Health

The Farmer’s Stress Hotline is seeing an increase in calls after multiple weather systems impacted the upper Midwest. Avera Behavioral Health began offering the 24-hour service dedicated to farmers and ranchers in January.

Karl Oehlke is a Physician Assistant in psychiatry with Avera in Sioux Falls. He says he’s heard from callers across the region, including an increase from the northeastern corner of Nebraska and parts of Minnesota.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Schools and producers are working to feed kids with local crops. A federal grant worth $24,158 helps educate stakeholders on the Farm to School movement. The project brings local ingredients to school food programs.

Farm to Table restaurants aim to bring local foods directly to diners. Schools have a similar program to connect students with products raised nearby.

Sandra Kangas is the South Dakota Department of Education’s director of Child and Adult Nutrition Services. She says Farm to School improves access to local foods.


Lori Walsh interviews Sara Wyant who recently presented at the South Dakota Agriculture Summit. She joins us today to discuss the Rural Route to the White House. We’ll talk about vital issues to South Dakota farmers and ranchers and the agriculture platforms of the presumptive nominees for president. Wyant is President of Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc., a diversified communications firm with offices in Washington, D.C., and Camdenton, Missouri. As a veteran farm policy reporter, she is well recognized on Capitol Hill, as well as with farm and commodity associations across the country.

Charles Michael Ray

Starting Tuesday, officials say locals should expect an increase in air traffic from the Ellsworth Air Force Base for the next three days.
The exercise is designed to train pilots while simulating realistic scenarios.
The Powder River Training Complex covers about 30-thousand square miles and stretches through part of the Dakotas, and into Montana and Wyoming.

Back Hills Stock Show and Rodeo

Cowboys, cowgirls, ranchers and their animals are gathering in Rapid City this week for the annual Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo. Over 330,000 people from around the region and beyond are expected to attend the event at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center and Central States Fairgrounds. Organizers say it’s the second largest event in South Dakota, following the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.


The Ranchers Relief Fund is disbursing its final funds to the ranchers and live stock producers recovering from last October's blizzard. That Storm took over forty-three thousand cattle from ranchers throughout western South Dakota. The state is getting closer to a full recovery.

Numbers are still being reported for livestock lost in the early October blizzard in western South Dakota.  With about 14,000 cattle reported dead so far. Veterinarians are researching what happened and they're able to explain the cause of death for most livestock.

West River Ranchers are still sending in reports of dead cattle five weeks after the storm. State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven says many ranchers were caught by surprise. He says because this storm wasn’t normal, it caused unexpected devastation.

Storms, Shutdown Hurt Tourism

Oct 11, 2013

The blizzard and government shutdown has had an huge impact on South Dakota ranchers and others struggling to recover after damage and widespread loss of livestock.
But, the bad weather and shuttering of National Parks has also been a double whammy for the state’s second largest industry--tourism.
Nort Johnson is with the South Dakota Badlands and Lakes Association.   It’s a large industry trade group in the Black Hills.   Johnson says with the closing of National Parks and the blizzard coverage in the national press--visitors are staying away.


US Representative Kristi Noem says she is continuing to make progress in re-opening the government. She has plans to visit the white house on Thursday to speak with the President.

The Government shutdown is now in its second week, and in the views of the American public, little progress seems to have been made at this point. Noem says it’s very important for President Obama to communicate at this critical time.

Ranchers Cope With Huge Losses

Oct 10, 2013

The freak October blizzard that dumped more than four feet of snow has killed tens of thousands of cattle west of the river. Their carcasses are now tangled in barbed wire fences and emerging from the melting snowdrifts.

But the government shutdown means part of the safety net is gone; the programs normally operated by the USDA and other federal agencies to assist ranchers are shuttered.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Charles Michael Ray caught up with a few ranchers while they were out in the field corralling the surviving animals.

Health Issues Of Livestock From Snow Storm

Oct 9, 2013

Reports of cow and calf death losses, along with displacements of herds due to drifting of snow over fence lines are still coming in. SDSU Extension Veterinarian, Russ Daly gives a summary of some health issues South Dakota ranchers may see as a result of the blizzard. Prolonged stress placed on animals, especially younger animals, due to weather events results in increased cortisol levels in the animals' bloodstream, which can have profound effects on the immune system.

Ranchers Lose Livestock From Winter Storm

Oct 9, 2013

A record-breaking storm that dumped 4 feet of snow in parts of western South Dakota left ranchers dealing with heavy losses, in some cases perhaps up to half their herds. Silvia Christen, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, says early estimates suggest western south Dakota lost at least 5 percent of their cattle. Some individual ranchers reported losses of 20 percent to 50 percent of their livestock.