Document Livestock Death Loss Back »

As South Dakota livestock owners begin to dig out from one of the worst recorded blizzards to hit western South Dakota, reports of animal losses are just coming in.

Producers and family members are busy trying to recover from the results of this terrible blizzard. At the present time, we don’t know what, if any governmental program will be available to assist ranchers. New information may be slow coming because the federal shutdown has furloughed key local USDA staff. Typically, disaster programs are authorized from the Farm Bill and at the present time we don’t have a Farm Bill, although versions of the Farm Bill currently being considered do contain Livestock Indemnity/Disaster components.

However, documenting livestock death loss now is key, to have any possibility of applying for governmental programs in the future.

No one needs another task during this difficult time, but it is critical that you document your losses. The lesson learned from winter of 1996 to 1997 showed the importance of good records in getting some assistance from governmental programs.

What To Record

The South Dakota Animal Industry Board has developed a Checklist of Information needed. The form should also be signed by the verifier and the producer.

Information needed includes:

  1. Date and time reported;
  2. Who is reporting;
  3. Producer name;
  4. Producer contact information;
  5. Location of carcasses/driving directions;
  6. County;
  7. Total number in herd/flock;
  8. Number of carcasses;
  9. Disposal method/plan;
  10. If disposal is completed, and date;
  11. Location of disposal site, if available.

Additional items which may be helpful for future documentation include:

  • Time/labor for processing dead animals;
  • Equipment used and amount of time;
  • Pictures or videos: Be sure the date is set correctly and is on. Try to show detail to substantiate number dead.
  • Any rendering records, sale receipts, etc. should be kept.

Third party verification is critical to having the documentation needed for possible future disaster payments. It is best if documentation is  signed and dated by both the verifier and the producer. Verifiers can be a number of agencies or groups including SDSU Extension staff, veterinarians, sheriff or deputies, brand inspectors, emergency management officers, sale barn representatives, or neighbors to name few. Verifiers cannot be a member of  immediate family or regular hired labor for the producer or ranch. Recognizing travel and access are difficult to nearly impossible in many situations, getting another party out to the losses sometimes cannot be achieved. In the past there have been other methods of justifying losses from third party information, such as vet records, sale barn receipts, bank forms, etc., but doing all the documentation possible now is very important. Photos may also be an option.

Once you have documented livestock death loss, disposal of carcasses comes to mind. The South Dakota Animal Industry Board website has on-farm carcass disposal guidelines.

Please also work with your county emergency manager(s).

County Name Phone Number
Bennett County Jeff Siscoe 605.685.5994
Butte County Martha Wierzbicki 605.569.2766
Corson County Brad Schell 605.273.4481
Custer County Mike Carter 605.673.8152
Fall River County Frank Maynard 605.745.7562
Haakon County Lola Roseth 605.567.3515
Jackson County Jackie Stilwell, 605.488.0334
Jones County Angie Kinsley 605.669.7101
Lawrence County Paul Thomson 605.578.2122
Meade County Angella Sutton 605.347.7623
Mellette County Karen O’Brien 605.259.3371
Pennington County Dustin Willett 605.394.2185
Perkins County Kelly Serr 605.244.5243
Shannon County Frank Maynard 605.745.7562
Todd County Kara Walking 605.429.3246
Ziebach County Mike Burgee 605.365.5129

*Information courtesy of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.

As you work through the clean up process, please remember your own safety.

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