Friday, September 29, 2023

North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and Foundation Launch Disaster Relief Fund to Provide Blizzard Aid

by Colter Brown

The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) and North Dakota Stockmen’s Foundation (NDSF) have teamed up to support the state’s cattle ranchers who suffered significant impacts in back-to-back storms this month.

First, the record-breaking statewide Blizzard Haley dumped more than 40 inches of snow in some areas and coupled it with consistent 50-mile-an-hour winds. Then, Mother Nature delivered a second, serious blow last weekend, pounding livestock operations with a combination of perils, ­including severe winds, several feet of snow, rain and/or ice.

Livestock industry impacts range from widespread livestock death and illness to damaged buildings and fences. Feed resources are also low, with the storms coming on the heels of significant statewide drought.

To help North Dakota cattlemen and women offset the challenges from these disastrous storms and those that will linger long after the snow has melted, the non-profit organizations are launching the Hope After Haley Disaster Relief Fund. The NDSA and NDSF have kickstarted the relief fund with their $40,000 initial contribution and are inviting others to join them by contributing to the effort.

“Together, we can help North Dakota producers recoup and reclaim hope after a devastating year,” said NDSA President Jeff Schafer, a New Rockford, N.D., cow-calf producer and feeder. “Cattle-ranching families give their all to care for their livestock every day, and we want to do all we can to help them through this struggle.”

Monetary contributions to the disaster relief fund can be made two ways: 1) Checks can be made to the NDSF with “Hope After Haley” written in the memo and sent to 407 S. Second St., Bismarck, ND 58504; or 2) Credit card gifts can be made online by clicking here.

The gifts will be pooled and distributed in their entirety to North Dakota cattle ranchers later this spring through an application and nomination process. A selection committee comprised of fellow ranchers will make selections and distribute the funds to those most in need. 

“It’s been an incredible year for cattle ranchers,” added NDSF President Dan Rorvig, a McVille, N.D., cow-calf producer. “First, they were dealing with severe and persistent drought and then record-breaking storms delivered a one-two punch in the midst of calving season. The first storm was bad enough on its own, and then the second had a compounding effect on the animals that were already weak and stressed. We hope we can help make a difference.”

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum declared a statewide emergency on April 25th for flooding and widespread utility infrastructure damage caused by the storm last weekend that left thousands of North Dakotans without electricity. The governor also has declared a disaster for areas impacted by record snowfall during the blizzard the week prior, based on local costs incurred for snow removal.

Burgum plans to request presidential disaster declarations for both events to unlock federal assistance to help pay for snow removal and infrastructure repairs, including thousands of downed utility poles that must be replaced in western counties after last weekend’s storm brought a combination of freezing rain and high winds.

“From flooding in the east to power outages affecting thousands of residents in the west, to record April snowfall depleting snow removal budgets and hitting ranchers hard during calving season, this April has been an extremely challenging month for all North Dakotans,” Burgum said. “We appreciate the federal government considering these requests for assistance to help communities recover from these storms and build resiliency against future severe weather events. We’re especially grateful for the whole-of-government response by our state agencies as well as the incredible efforts by local emergency managers, first responders, road crews, health care workers and others to protect the lives and property of all North Dakota citizens.”

The NDSF is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, so gifts can be deducted as charitable contributions for income tax purposes. For more information about the Hope After Haley Disaster Relief Fund or other ways to help, call (701) 223-2522 or visit

Application and nomination forms for the disaster relief will be available for cattle ranchers sometime in May at


NDSA/Gov. Doug Burgum/NDSU

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