South Dakota Farm Bureau established the "South Dakota Farm Bureau Cares Fund" to help ranch families with immediate financial needs after the devastating October blizzard.  The generosity has been amazing!  

At its 96th annual meeting held Nov. 22-23, South Dakota Farm Bureau announced a total raised of $68,000!  These donations came from inside South Dakota, but also beyond our borders with many state Farm Bureau organizations and their members sending in checks.

A wonderful, surprise addition to the fundraising effort occurred through Minnesota Farm Bureau's annual meeting, which happened to be held on the same weekend.  At their annual Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation auction, members of the Minnesota Farm Bureau generously raised more than $22,000 to send to ranchers in South Dakota!  This brings the total raised for the "Cares Fund" over $90,000 thus far.

A huge thank-you goes out to all who have contributed!  Farmers and ranchers are stars are reaching out to their neighbors in need.  These funds won't replace all the cattle, but they can help get ranch families through this Holiday season and mend some of the hurt as they begin to make decisions about rebuilding.  The funds are meant to help with immediate needs not covered by insurance: groceries, utility bills, medical bills, or whatever the ranchers feel would be most helpful to their family and household.

If you would like to contribute, the Fund is still accepting donations.  Find all the details or make an online donation here.

Now the need shifts to making sure that those ranch families in need begin receiving the funds quickly. 

There is a brief, confidential application form to start the process, which is available here.  The one-page application is easy to fill out and will only been seen by a very few people to protect ranchers' privacy.  Farm Bureau members will receive priority when funds are distributed.  In order for people's donations to be tax-deductible, SDFB is working through the South Dakota Community Foundation. The IRS requires funds from the SD Community Foundation to be given out through a 501c3 non-profit, which is the reason the application form mentions "Catholic Social Services Disaster Assistance" at the top.  Catholic Social Services is the mechanism by which the Farm Bureau Cares Fund money is being distributed.  You can be, but do not need to be, a member of a Catholic Church to apply.

Ranchers may fill out the form directly, or they may be referred by neighbors or friends. 

We all know that rural folks are not in the business of asking for help, and they tend to keep private matters private.  If you know of a ranch family who could use this financial assistance, please refer them by filling out the application form on their behalf.  Or contact your County Farm Bureau President and let him or her know about the family who would benefit from receiving a gift.  Your referral is confidential and your name will not be mentioned.  Thank you for helping us make sure these funds are distributed quickly to families in need!


Left: Jane Gebhart of Perkins County, SD collects the donation baskets during the SDFB annual meeting on Nov. 23, 2013
Right: Minnesota Farm Bureau showing the "Cares Fund" logo on the big screen before their auction.