Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some questions we've been getting a lot. If you have questions that aren't answered here,

please contact us.

What is the Rancher Relief Fund?

The South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund (RRF) was established on October 8, 2013 by the SD Stockgrowers Association, SD Cattlemen’s Association and SD Sheepgrowers Association at the Black Hills Area Community Foundation to provide support and relief assistance to those in the agriculture industry impacted by the blizzard of October 4-7, 2013.


How will the Rancher Relief Fund be administered?

The fund will be administered by the Black Hills Area Community Foundation in cooperation with the founding livestock organizations for the direct benefit of the livestock producers impacted by the devastating early October blizzard.  The Black Hills Area Community Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and will receive 1% of the fund proceeds plus any direct administrative costs associated with the fund.


A Steering Committee consisting of three representatives from each of the three founding livestock organizations established the eligibility criteria for affected livestock producers to receive financial assistance from the fund.  The South Dakota Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (SDVOAD) will work with the impacted families to determine eligibility for the Rancher Relief Fund and other disaster assistance programs and resources.  SDVOAD will also be responsible for RRF disbursements to qualifying families.


How can I apply to receive assistance from the Rancher Relief Fund?



What are the tax implications from receiving these funds?

This was federally qualified disaster (declared on November 8, 2013) and the outflow was made to those impacted through a fair, consistent and needs based application process. Ranchers receiving payments may wish to share the attached IRS publication with their accountant. From page 17:


“Section 139 provides that qualifying disaster payments from any source, including employers, reimbursing or paying individuals’ specified expenses in connection with qualified disasters are not taxable as income and are not subject to employment taxes or withholding.”


How was it decided who receives funds?

A Steering Committee comprised of producer members of the founding livestock organizations identified dual priorities for RRF distribution – assist those who were hardest hit first and provide financial assistance to as many producers as possible.  Based on these priorities, funds will be distributed through the SD Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (SDVOAD).


Fund officials have targeted an announcement and beginning application date of November 15, and applications will be made available online at An application deadline of December 31, 2013 has been set in order to assess the number of applications and the severity of the needs of those applicants.  Immediate release of funds to applicants prior to the deadline may occur with the most severe cases.   A second funding round may be made available to applicants who have signed up before the December 31, 2013 deadline, depending on continued contributions to the Rancher Relief Fund and the number of qualified applications received.  Updates will be posted at  Recommendations for families who may need assistance will also be accepted, but please note the nominee will be contacted and asked to complete an application in order to determine eligibility.


How can ranchers get help now?

​The Rancher Relief Fund has also made funds available through Lutheran Social Services to assist with immediate family needs such as groceries, feed, fuel, fencing supplies, etc.  To access these funds, please call 211 in South Dakota. Producers living in Harding, Perkins, Ziebach, Shannon, Jackson, Jones, Bennett and Mellette Counties, please call 877-708-4357 to request immediate assistance.


How can I help?

​Monetary contributions to the Rancher Relief Fund will assist ranchers in meeting immediate financial obligations and provide them more time to determine their next steps in blizzard recovery. Donate to the official Rancher Relief Fund.  Visit to donate online. Checks written to “Rancher Relief Fund” can also be mailed to Black Hills Area Community Foundation PO Box 231, Rapid City SD 57709.  Follow us on Facebook for updates.


How can I donate my time, equipment or supplies?

​Please post these donations (ranch horses, feed, heavy equipment/operation, farrier services, etc.) on the Community Exchange forum on the Rancher Relief Fund website at  Ranchers who need these goods and services are being directed to this page and can contact you. The Rancher Relief Fund is not able to accept live animal or in-kind donations, but this forum will connect the contributors with the people who need these goods and services. RRF and its affiliates are not third party to these transactions.


Some South Dakota grain elevators and livestock auction markets are accepting donations of grain and live animals to be immediately sold for the benefit of the Rancher Relief Fund.  Check the RRF website for updates regarding local businesses participating in these relief efforts.