by Angela Douglas – Q2 News
The following article and video is from KTVQ in Billings:
RYEGATE – On June 6, Ryegate area rancher and farmer Jay Streeter lost about half of his livestock when a late spring hailstorm herded 100 calves, 80 cows, and 30 yearlings off a cliff of rimrock.
“It was a pretty devastating day,” admits Streeter. “You re-evaluate a lot of things when something like that happens to you.”
Word traveled quickly to nearby ranchers and farmers and it didn’t take long before the Wheatland County Stockgrowers organized a fundraiser for the Streeter family.
“Anybody that’s been in agriculture has lost some stock and that’s tough,” explains Ryegate rancher, Gordon Bruner. “But when you lose as much as Jay lost, that just stirs something in you to do something.”
The urge to help didn’t stop in Montana. The news spread like wildfire beyond the Treasure State’s borders and soon the Streeters were receiving hundreds of phone calls, letters, and donations.
“From Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, I mean, just everywhere,” says Streeter.
As a result of the “Spare a Pair” fundraising event, spearheaded by Bruner and Rob Tierney, 32 cow/calf pairs and three yearlings have been donated to the Streeters so far.
“I’ve got a lot of people that might donate some this fall because their cattle are out on pasture now,” Streeter states.
Friends of the family spent Wednesday branding, tagging, and vaccinating their new cattle.
It takes three years before a calf is mature enough to reproduce. Therefore, the pair donations saves the Streeter family at least two years in production costs, along with bringing in income.
In addition to the cattle, nearly $26,000 has been collected to help the Streeters recover from the $215,000+ loss.
“It’s one thing maybe to get your stock back, but he needs to make money for next year. He needs calves to generate income for next year,” says Bruner. “I kind of associate it to losing your house and your job all at the same time. You know, he had no way to generate any income for the ranch.”
It’s no secret that Mother Nature has shown little mercy in the past few weeks, especially to the ag industry. However, even with the many ranch and farm families facing their own trials and tribulations, the support system hasn’t wavered.
“Everyone’s got fences out, everyone’s got crops that have been destroyed to some extent and yet they’ll drop that and come and help somebody who’s had it worse,” Bruner points out.
Streeter admits he’s amazed and humbled by the generosity of his fellow ranchers and farmers.
“I never realized how much people really want to care and help and it’s just been great,” Streeter says. “It really made a difference.”
Posted by Haylie Shipp