Soybean pellets on way to drought victims in western South Dakota The largest shipment yet of donated feed is on the way west to assist drought-stricken South Dakota ranchers.
The South Dakota Soybean Processors and the South Dakota Soybean Promotion Council are donating 10 rail carloads of soybean pellets. The Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad is providing transportation at no cost.
"We're ecstatic," said Hands Across South Dakota Coordinator Janelle Bischoff of Huron. "We are estimating that this donation will allow us to provide approximately 500 ranchers each with about two tons of high quality livestock feed."
Lake Preston area farmer Wayne Soren chairs the Hands Across South Dakota Feed Assistance Committee and shares Bischoff's enthusiasm. "Our main focus has been to do whatever we can to help ranchers make it through the winter and into spring. This moves us toward that goal."
The soybean pellets were loaded into DM&E rail cars at the Soybean Processors plant in Volga early this week and will be shipped to Phillip early next week. The feed will then be loaded on trucks for distribution to several locations yet to be determined where ranchers, selected through a lottery system, will be able to pick up their share.
According to Soybean Processors Merchandising Manager DuWayne Bauman, the donation amounts to approximately 1,000 tons or the equivalent of 40 semi truck loads. He said the Hands Across South Dakota donation would not have been possible without the cooperation and assistance of the DM&E Railroad. Hands Across South Dakota has been working with a task force representing residents of Perkins, Harding, Corson, Dewey, Butte, Meade and Ziebach counties since the first of the year. Additional task forces have now been established for Jones, Lyman, Millette, Todd, Tripp, Gregory, Haakson, Jackson, Bennett, Custer, Fall River, Shannon and Pennington counties.
Donations to drought victims have included 17 semi-loads of distillers dried grains, 33 semi-loads of hay, three semi-loads of shelled corn; two loads of straw, six semi-loads of food for people and $13,500 in direct financial assistance.
Hands Across South Dakota is a statewide coalition including religious, business, government, farm, ranch and rural organizations. Farmers Union donates office space and telephone services for the coalition.
Donations to the group should be made out to the South Dakota Association of Christian Churches and sent to Hands Across South Dakota, Box 1388, Huron, SD 57350 or the Association of Christian Churches, 100 South Spring Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57104.