During the government shutdown, the 122 National Weather Service forecast office across the country were still operating, issuing potentially life-saving forecasts and warnings. Like most other federal workers during the shutdown, the NWS meteorologists were not getting paid. Not only did the meteorologists work for no pay, they had to deal with some truly exceptional weather conditions this past weekend that have posed forecasting challenges and even put them in harm’s way. A record-breaking early season blizzard struck a number of states from the northern Rockies to the Northern High Plains on October 4-5, dumping as much as 4 feet of snow and piling the snow into drifts up to 10 feet high in places. (source) Winds whipped through the area at 80mph.
It started with rain that turned everything wet and muddy, including the cows. Then the cold, the snow, and the wind came. Freezing everything and leaving it buried in snow. Including the cows and calves. It breaks my heart.
Sure, some ranchers have insurance. But not everyone, and certainly not everyone who is will have “winter peril” coverage added. It’s not like car insurance, people. It’s expensive, so many different “add-ons” that make it very expensive, and many loopholes that make it almost impossible to be fully protected. There was a lack of news coverage and a lack of assistance from the government, because you know it was “shutdown”. When the people needed help the most, the government wasn’t there. Should a farm bill really even be a question?
People were stranded, they weren’t able to get to their livestock for days. The numbers are still coming in, still rising but the number of cattle (and other livestock) lost is upward of 60,000. You don’t just get to go “buy more cows”. The foundation is gone along with years of hardwork. Farmers had to dig through feet of snow to find their cattle, just to cut off their ear tags to keep their death count accurate. Their loss is estimated to be tens of millions of dollars.
This was a horrible tragedy. But you can help. There have been many relief funds set up for these ranchers. One way you can help is by buying this sweatshirt. Not only will you being helping the ranchers and showing your pride, it’s cute.
We’re all in this together. Our prayers go out to you. God bless.