It was a snowstorm unlike any other.
Storm Atlas--- the first week of October this year--- claimed the lives of thousands of cattle in the Dakotas.
And while those herds can't be replaced, they can be rebuilt.
Ag Reporter Sarah Gustin has the story of some very generous cattlemen giving back to those in the business.
(Sarah Gustin / firstname.lastname@example.org) "Typically a cow can't leave Kist without a check blank, and right now these ladies are worth a pretty penny. But the ranchers receiving these heifers won't have to pay a dime."
(Linda MacDonald / Donating Heifers)"Our family watched with unique sense of disbelief and agony as we began to watch the devastation of the October Blizzard. Never before had we witnessed a tragedy that we could identify with so closely. The only reason we were reading about it instead of living it is that the storm went your way instead of ours."
Trailer after trailer the donations keep coming.
As rancher after rancher donates some of their genetics and pieces of their herd to ranchers who are working to rebuild.
(Wade Moser / Donating Heifers) "When you hear about some of those young producers who lost large numbers and high percentages of their entire herd, and then their calf crop and when you looking at record calf prices right now, to lose those weeks even days before you are going to sell is quite a blow. They are going to struggle. Even with these cattle being donated, it's a long road ahead of them I am sure because you don't build a herd overnight."
Heifers for South Dakota is a program gathering bred females to send to ranchers in need to help get them back on their feet.
(Henry Meyer / Donating Heifers) "I thought I need to do this. "
With cattle numbers at an all time low and cattle prices at all time highs..these donations will be worth a lot to those who lost nearly everything.
(Henry Meyer / Donating Heifers) "Prices are all over the board right now. I have seen heifers selling for $2500 and selling for $1800. And cows selling at $2200, $2300, $2400. They are valuable. If you gotta start up from scratch. It would be impossible. I understand these heifers are going to young ranchers, so hopefully it helps keep some in business ya know?
(Wade Moser / Donating Heifers) "Hopefully these cattle go to young producers and they were hit pretty hard. I am just hoping that we can encourage them to keep them in the business and know that they have other ranchers out there supporting them. Someday it might be turn around time and we might need help on this end.We gotta stick together."
Not only sending livestock but words of hope...
(Linda MacDonald / Donating Heifers) "They are not really a gift from us but a gift from God who owns all things. And is the giver of all good gifts."
South Dakota State officials have estimated as many as 15,000 to 30,000 cows died in the storm.
These cows will be delivered to South Dakota tomorrow.
Log onto Help for South Dakota dot com to learn more about their program and how you can help.