The "South Dakota Farm Bureau Cares" Fund

The early-October blizzard, so powerful it has been named "Atlas," was devastating to many ranch families in Western South Dakota.  Tens of thousands of head of livestock were lost in the storm.  Losing all or part of the herd that you -- and your family for generations before you -- has worked so hard to build up is a deep emotional blow.  From an economic perspective, the ranchers will be facing a very difficult time in the weeks and months ahead as they decide how to regain their footing and rebuild.

We at South Dakota Farm Bureau have established The "South Dakota Farm Bureau Cares" Fund to help ranchers impacted by the blizzard.

Thus far, more than $123,000 has been raised!  We have touched 124 families so far through grants of $46,800.  Donations have come in from people all across South Dakota, from County Farm Bureau organizations and caring individuals.  Donations have also come in from around the country, including a generous $22,000 gift from the Minnesota Farm Bureau raised at an auction held at their annual meeting.  Thank you so much for your generosity!

About the Fund:

Our fund is designed to help ranch families impacted by the blizzard with immediate financial needs: cash for groceries, utility bills, or whatever they feel would be helpful to their family and household.  We truly believe Farm Bureau is a "family," so Farm Bureau member families will receive first priority when the funds are distributed.  Your contribution is tax-deductible, and 100% will go directly to ranch families in need.

How to Donate:

  • If paying by check, make the check payable to "Farmers & Merchants Bank / SDFB Cares Fund" and send it to South Dakota Farm Bureau at PO Box 1426, Huron SD, 57350.
  • The option to make a donation online via a credit or debit card is available by clicking the green button below.


How to Apply:

Ranch families: we are now taking application forms & distributing the funds.

"SDFB Cares Fund" application form

The application form is brief and confidential.  When you open the file above, it will say "Catholic Social Services Disaster Assistance" at the top.  You can be, but do not need to be, a member of a Catholic Church to apply.  In order for the people's donations to be tax-deductible, SDFB is working through the South Dakota Community Foundation for this fund.  The Community Foundation is required to distribute funds through a 501c3 non-profit, and Catholic Social Services has agreed to help out in this arrangement.  Farm Bureau members will receive priority when making decisions regarding the distribution of funds.

Do you know of a rancher who could use help? Make a confidential referral!

Referrals are also accepted.  Referrals are confidential and your name will not be mentioned.  We understand that it is difficult to ask for help, and many who could probably benefit may not apply.  If you know of a fellow Farm Bureau member, a neighbor, or a friend who could use this assistance, please submit their name.  There are 3 ways to make a referral:

  1. Fill out the application form on that person's behalf and send it in.
  2. Contact your County Farm Bureau president and give them the name of the person.
  3. Contact Lowell Mesman (, 605-280-1319), SDFB West River Regional Manager, and give him the name of the person.

All referrals are confidential and your name will not be mentioned.  Thank you so much for helping us get these funds into the hands of the people who could benefit from them!




Photo credits:
Top row left: The Ranch Wife Chronicles, Prairie City, SD
Top row right: Missy Urbaniak, Fairpoint, SD
Bottom row left: Jodi Sleep, Spearfish, SD
Bottom row right: Joan Wink, Howes, SD

South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation | PO Box 1426 | 2225 Dakota Avenue S. | Huron, SD 57350 | Phone: (605) 353-8050 | Fax: (605) 353-8057