As a neighboring bishop, and as President of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, I wish to express our fraternal and prayerful support for all the ranching families who experienced the full force of nature in this storm. My friends, you are not alone! On this Solemnity of All Saints, the People of God are with you in prayer and in Spirit.
The statistics of the losses incurred by so many ranchers is breath-taking, and heart-breaking. Estimates of cattle losses range greatly across all areas affected (Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and parts of North Dakota). Final estimate of losses are still being compiled. It is important to remember that there were also heavy losses to sheep herds and horses.
The economic impact of this storm will be felt for some time well into the future. Sadly, many of these cattle would have been sold within weeks after the storm. Not only were many calves lost, but also the herd genetics family ranchers have built over generations will take another generation to rebuild, if indeed the families are able to survive at all. For a good treatment on the full impact to the cattle ranching families, see the following article on the South Dakota State Extension website.