First Interstate Bank will sponsor rollover calf auctions at more than 20 auction markets in South Dakota, Montana and neighboring states in the next 30 days.
Proceeds from the rollover auctions will go to the Rancher Relief Fund to aid producers who lost livestock in the recent storm.
Bank representatives reached out to every barn in the region, urging them to help with relief efforts. Some barns are hosting separate relief fundraising projects but many others were pleased to join the effort.
Shawn Rost, Northern Hills Market President, said the chain of financial institutions will also work with a few other auction markets such as the one in Valentine, Neb., in order to cover the entire territory affected by the recent storm Atlas.
“With the tragic losses we wanted to donate something, and we thought we could give $20,000 or $30,000, but we wanted to help more,” Rost said, explaining that the banks will contribute whatever it takes to purchase a heifer calf from each the barns participating, and they hope that after the rollover auctions are complete and the donations are tallied, their gift — aided by generous folks around the region — will have grown to $150,000-$500,000 to help producers hurt by the storm.
“We’ve been working closely with the Stock Growers, the Cattlemen and the Sheep Growers to build the relief fund and we wanted to put a big multiplier on our contribution,” said Rost.
While the bank will purchase a heifer calf at every sale, a representative may not be available for every single event.
“We’re talking Sioux Falls, S.D., and Aberdeen, S.D., and western Montana. It’s such a wide geographic area. For some of them, we’ll give the salebarn the money and they’ll buy the calf, because we can’t be at every one,” Rost explained.
But bank representatives plan to participate in as many as of the rollover auctions as possible.
“We are a long-term bank,” Rost said, of their attitude toward their customers dealing with significant livestock losses. “We’ve talked to many customers and non-customers that have lost livestock. We’re encouraging them whether they are our customer or not, to come and visit with us for advice and support.”
Rost said the bank has on staff some individuals who have worked with ag producers for over 30 years and can help in a variety of situations.
“Everyone’s circumstance is different. Everyone’s needs are different. We were here yesterday and we will be here tomorrow to take care of our customer. We are here for long term banking relationships,” said Rost.
“This is a case of neighbors helping neighbors,” Rost went on to say. “The ag industry takes care of our own.” ❖