As many as 20,000 cattle are thought to have died where they stood last weekend as blizzards swept the South Dakota countryside leaving many ranchers' livelihoods in ruins.
But with no federal livestock disaster programme in place, many ranchers were left wondering how they would survive the setback.
'This is the worse than I've ever seen for loss of livestock,' said rancher Karl Knutson, 25, who works on his family ranch east of the town of Sturgis, as he began counting his losses.
'Some people were very well prepared and lost 50 per cent of their herd,' said state veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven told CNN. 'Some were not prepared and took no losses. There was no rhyme or reason to it. Some ranchers lost everything.'Of course, I'm not sure why tax payers should be responsible for bailing out the ranchers.