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Updated Oct 22, 2013 - 7:47 am

Arizona ranchers step up to help S. Dakota cattlemen

In this Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, file photo, snowmobile tracks can be seen in the snow between fence lines and Highway 34 east of Sturgis, S.D., as area ranchers race to find cattle that drifted beyond fenced pastures during the blizzard. Western South Dakota ranchers are reeling from the loss of tens of thousands of cattle in last weekend's blizzard as pits to dispose of the dead animals are set to open Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Rapid City Journal, Kristina Barker)

PHOENIX -- South Dakota ranchers lost tens of thousands of cattle in the recent blizzard and now the Yavapai County Farm Bureau is sending them a check for $10,000 to help get them back on their feet.

Kacie Tomerlin is a fifth-generation rancher in the Verde Valley and said cattle numbers were already at the lowest numbers since the 1950s. It will be felt at the grocery stores.

"This is an event that affects everyone. Producers and consumers will feel it nationwide."

South Dakota ranks sixth nationally in livestock production. Tomerlin said it could take decades for ranchers to recover.

"This is historic. It's heartache because it took many lifetimes of work to get to where the South Dakota ranchers were," Tomerlin said. "Many of them are just having a hard time getting groceries. Their accounts are dry."

She said ranchers don't do what they do to get rich, they do it because they love it.

"We know this can happen but you can't prepare for it."

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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