Help slow from Washington for SD recovery
In Washington, both South Dakota and North Dakota will sit at the table as Congress attempts to negotiate a new farm bill.
U.S. Representative Kristi Noem was appointed Saturday to the Farm Bill Committee, a "very positive thing" according to Noem.
That a good thing, considering the plight South Dakota ranchers face after last weekend's severe storm. Those ranchers become increasingly frustrated with Washington D.C., as help from the government is few and far between.
Hundreds of ranchers across western South Dakota pick up the pieces, wondering how they're going to replace - in many cases - their livelihood.
Help trickles from Washington, but the government shutdown is stalling that help from reaching South Dakota.
"Due to the partial government shutdown, the FSA offices are closed and the USDA website is down," U.S. Representative Kristi Noem said. "This leaves our producers with a lot of unanswered questions and I'm hoping that USDA will reopen FSA offices which I've asked them to do, so that they can begin to assist families"
With resources cut off, producers find it hard to get their questions answered, but worry even more about starting again after the snow wiped out so many.
"It'd be really nice if they could have some kind of insurance program that people could participate in so they could insure against these losses but that doesn't happen yet either," said Robert Heidgerken, a Meade County commissioner.
The reason that hasn't happened? Congress has yet to pass a farm bill, which would provide assistance to ranchers after this tragedy.
"Until we get the Farm Bill conferenced, the disaster provisions that are in the farm bill can't be triggered and that's what's going to provide assistance to the livestock producers in western South Dakota who are so adversely impacted by this snow storm," said U.S. Senator John Thune.
Counties and municipalities are hurting also. With official disaster declarations signed, the necessary paperwork for FEMA reimbursement heads down the line. However, that's another sector in Washington that is hurting from the shutdown.
South Dakota candidate for U.S. Senate Rick Weiland worked at FEMA for many years, helping with disasters in South Dakota.
"Having worked at FEMA I know the bureaucracy, it does take time to move things," Weiland said. "It's going to take a lot longer as a result of this government shutdown."
In all the questions, families who build their lives o the land in West River want recovery efforts to get started.
"It doesn't matter if it's here in western South Dakota, or New Orleans or the east coast," said rancher Richard Rausch. "When these big storms hit, there should be something in place we don't have to wonder what's going to take place."