Natural disasters are not waiting for the federal government to reopen. The blizzard that hit S. Dakota last week, left ranchers reeling as over 20,000 heads of cattle died in the icy storm. Loss of this magnitude would have been horrible at any time, but the troubles in Washington make this a double blow. The farm bill was not passed before the shutdown, because of controversies over the food stamp program. Now, these S. Dakota ranchers have nowhere to turn. No farmers insurance, and most agencies that ranchers would contact for aid or guidance are furloughed and unavailable. Thanks to our sponsor, Hearst Ranch.

"There's no way to know exactly how many cattle were lost in the storm, but estimates are about 5 - 10% of all cattle in western South Dakota." [0:45]

-- Jack Inslee on Storm Atlas