|Taken yesterday-no winter coats on these cows yet|
...No one would know."
From an excellent article by Sherry Bunting writing for Farmshine about the devastating South Dakota blizzard and the almost complete lack of mainstream media attention to same. I can't imagine what it must be like for those poor souls out there on the prairie.....
I don't think it can be mentioned enough how unexpected and devastating the early winter weather was. They did not have an accurate forecast, and the animals did not have winter coats yet. You can't go out and put coats on thousands of cows....even if you had coats for cows, they wouldn't let you.
This event has been made even more disturbing, thanks to hundreds of armchair farmers, those pencil for a plow folks, who farm on Facebook. They have been downright nasty to ranchers, who could surely use some neighborly support instead.
For those in comfy cities who have been pointing fingers at western people, complaining that they should have done this and oughta done that...how would your area fare if a massive, wet, wind-lashed blizzard hit?
Around here we have barns, we have tame dairy cows. which are vastly different from beef cows, that live indoors at least part of the time. And we would STILL lose some of them. Barns would go down under the weight of the snow. Some animals would get sick because of the drastic weather change. Ours don't have winter coats yet either.
And people would be stopped right in their tracks. Schools would close, businesses would close, roads would be clogged, there would be accidents, supermarket shelves would quickly empty....yet we live in a relatively urban landscape compared to SD. Our roads are paved, we have all kinds of public support systems, police, fire, emergency responders of all sorts.
We would still have a very bad time. Remember this?
It shut the Northeast right down, despite only lasting a few hours and dropping much less snow than the western blizzard. Out there on the prairies the weather continues lousy, ranchers are struggling to protect the cows they have left, while dealing with finding and burying the ones that died.
My heart goes out to them.
And I am thankful for what Ms. Bunting calls, "those social media pioneers, and the cross-cultural contacts"...the bloggers and farmers and ranchers using social media, for letting those of us on the relatively cozy east coast know what is going on out there.
Meanwhile if you happen to work for the government, rather than being an independent producer, this sweet little windfall may have come your way. How nice.