MEADE COUNTY RANCH GETTING HELP WITH HAY
October 9, 2017 – By #Deb Holland (Meade County Times)
When neighbors are in need, leave it to South Dakotas farmers and ranchers to step up.
Such is the case with Rainbow Bible Ranch.
Drought conditions in central and eastern Meade County resulted in meager hay production this summer. Larry Reinhold knew that the 22 bales of hay they put up this summer would not sustain both the ranch's horses and cows over the winter.
Meade County Times article
Meanwhile, about 320 miles to the east, Ken and Lynn Wintersteen were blessed with abundant rains that translated to four cuttings of hay.
"When our neighbors are hurting for hay and we have extra, we feel obligated to share," Lynn Wintersteen said.
The Wintersteens' daughter attended Rainbow Bible Ranch camp when she was younger. Lynn Wintersteen said it's sad to see fellow ag producers suffering.
"They do so much good for so many young people," she said.
The Reinholds took the Wintersteens up on their offer but still knew they needed someone to get the hay from one locale to another. Larry Reinhold said he had heard from a young girl who attended camp at Rainbow Bible Ranch how Farm Rescue had helped her family when her father was ill with cancer.
"We filled out a simple application and here rolls in this load of hay on Saturday," he said.
That was 25 tons of hay, to be exact. And another truckload arrived on Monday evening from friends and neighbors of the Wintersteens who had heard about the ranch's plight.
"It's pretty big and very welcome," Reinhold said. "Some would probably fault me for my faith and hope that God is always going to provide, but we trust him."
The Reinholds are being realistic about the whole situation. Larry Reinhold knows that, like other ranchers nearby, he will have to sell down more cows so that all the livestock can make it through the winter.
"We just can't bring in that much feed and make it work out," he said.
Carol Wielenga, operations director for Farm Rescue, a nonprofit organization that provides planting, harvesting or haying assistance free of charge to farm and ranch families, said she was proud to drive the load of hay and drop it at Rainbow Bible Ranch.
"If a rancher is asking for help, they usually need the help, because they are usually too proud to ask for help," she said. "They have this entrepreneurial spirit. They've always done it themselves and want to stand on their own. But there is a point at which they can't do it that season or year, and that's where Farm Rescue can step in and get them to the next season."
This is the second year that Farm Rescue has stepped in with hay. The group accepts applications from ranchers who are seeking hay to fill the void left by unseasonably dry weather or fires in the Dakotas and Montana. The nonprofit then serves as an intermediary between ranchers in need and producers with additional hay available for transport.
Last year Farm Rescue delivered about eight loads of hay. This year it has delivered more than 100.
"Initially we were trying to give hay, but with so many applications coming in, the way we could help the most people is by hauling it," Wielenga said.
She said they have trucks hauling in all locations currently when they have the volunteer drivers to do so.
Wielenga says seeing the look on the rancher's face when she pulls in is amazing.
"This puts the purpose in your miles. They are in need and very appreciative," she said.
Wielenga, who grew up in Corsica, said she has seen more of her home state in the past week or so than she had her whole life.
"It's really a beautiful thing when you can meet people in your home state and thank them for the part they play in feeding the world. Each one is so important. Building relationships with them has really been a blessing," she said.