DQs raise funds, awareness for cattle ranchers
By JANE UTECHT, Staff Reporter
Dairy Queen is raising funds again, but not just on one Miracle Day. From Nov. 4-10, 34 Dairy Queen restaurants in South Dakota will be donating at least $1 from the sale of each beef product to help the state's ranchers affected by the early October blizzard.|
Rough estimates from the October storm, dubbed "Atlas," say 6,000 ranching families may have lost up to 100,000 head of cattle. Ranchers also report losses of sheep and horses.
Madison's Dairy Queen, the quintessential fund-raiser, is participating. Owner DeLon Mork said they want to help "our rancher friends out west" who have lost herds in "astronomical numbers."
Madison's DQ is donating a minimum of $1 for any beef product sold next week. The AP reports that the goal for the week-long event is to sell 25,000 burgers across the state and raise at least $25,000 for the Rancher Relief Fund.
The fund is a cooperative effort between four organizations: South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, the Stockgrowers Association, Sheep Growers Association and Black Hills Area Community Foundation.
"I would like to [sell] a couple thousand," said Mork. "The more we sell, the more we can help them."
The funds raised will help ranchers like Erica Clements' parents, Brian and Lori Morris of Meadow. Clements is the associate director of marketing and public relations at Dakota State University. She was out west last weekend helping her parents with cleanup.
"They were very, very lucky," Clements said. "They only lost five or six head of cattle." They have about 1,000 head on their ranch. A neighbor about 10 miles away lost over 100 cattle.
"It just so depended on where you were," Clements said. "Even some [cattle] in corrals died."
Others died after the blizzard from exhaustion.
When the snow started on Oct. 4, Clements' parents were able to move some of the cattle home from the summer pasture. After Atlas dumped a couple of feet of snow on the area, it took her family a week to get out to the pasture to check on the animals. They were also without electricity for about a week.
Clements' husband, who works for East River Electric, was working in the area shortly after the storm. He reported that in some instances, it was hard to get around with cattle in the way. When she drove through the Faith area last week, she could still see cattle, Clements said.
Some people lost over half their herds, she said.
"That's their business, their livelihood," she said, adding that this type of loss can be devastating to the whole family, and "not just this year. There will be residual effects through years and years."
Mork also sees far-reaching effects of this loss, not just to families but to entire communities.
"This is their livelihood," he said, but the impact is not just on the ranching families. There is a greater impact to the communities, the state and beyond, he said.
For that reason, the fund-raiser will be "really, really great," Clements said. "It's amazing they do this."
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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