Cattle decimated by early blizzard

Like in a scene from an apocalyptic parable, dark carcasses of cows and steers lie motionless in silent clusters across swaths of South Dakota.

An early blizzard caught ranchers off guard this week in the state, killing as many as 20,000 head of cattle, a state official says.

But ranchers say they are the real victims.

The storm left many of them in ruins, and now Washington is leaving them out in the cold.

“With the government shutdown and no farm bill in place, we need South Dakotans to help their neighbors,” Gov. Dennis Daugaard said.

This year’s federal farm legislation got hung up in Congress before the shutdown. There’s no money to help the ranchers, and Daugaard is asking for donations.

The effects of this government shutdown are so far and deep one couldn’t even begin to imagine.