Weather Forecast


Horwath: Rural communities pitch in when help is needed

Growing up in western Wisconsin, I’ve been accustomed to the culture of rural areas based around agriculture.

Although my parents weren’t farmers, our place was surrounded by dairy farms, farm families and cropland. Many of the kids I grow up with, played sports with and joined in 4-H activities with either were raised on dairy farms or worked on them.

Just like life on a ranch or farm in western North Dakota, life on a dairy farm wasn’t easy — it was hard work. There were no such luxuries as days off or the ability to call in sick if the flu hit.

Bryan Horwath After living in western North Dakota for nearly two years, the people here remind me of the salt-of-the-earth folks from back home in Cheeseheadland. A sometimes-furious work ethic, independent spirit and can-do attitude are traits I see in the people of both areas.

A trait of that can-do spirit has been illustrated perfectly by the outpouring of support that has been offered for farmers and ranchers in North Dakota and South Dakota who were affected by the devastating October blizzard earlier this year, which led to the deaths of thousands of head of cattle.

While ranchers affected by the storm continue to wait for federal safety net relief funds — and, in some cases, insurance payouts — members of the agricultural community jumped in almost immediately to lend a helping hand or extend a donation to the Ranchers Relief Fund, which has raised nearly $2 million for victims of the storm.

Beyond the relief fund, people eager to help from places far and wide have donated cattle, time and money to the cause because out here — just like the place where I grew up — people pitch in to help a neighbor in need. When bad things happen, people here ask, ‘What can I do to help?’”

While I can’t speak to every area of our great country, I do believe that attitude and spirit is much more prevalent in America’s rural areas. It, in my opinion, is a refreshing way to look at life. For those wanting to help or do more for the ranchers affected by last month’s blizzard, there are plenty of opportunities left.

On Saturday in Dickinson, the Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge will host the Atlas Rancher Roundup Benefit and Auction, which kicks off with cocktails and a silent auction beginning at 6:30 p.m. Dinner, a live auction and a live band and dance will also be featured. Tickets for the event are $30 in advance and $40 at the door.

On Dec. 7, another benefit supper and dance will take place at the Lemmon (S.D.) Legion Club. The Lemmon benefit will feature a free-will offering and supper beginning at 5 p.m. and will feature music by the band “Harting County Line,” which is scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m.

For more information on the Dickinson benefit, search for the Atlas Rancher Roundup Benefit and Auction Facebook page. For further details on the Lemmon fundraiser, contact W.A. Lloyd at 701-376-5741 or Leonard Jonas at 605-431-2161. To make a donation by phone or to be put in contact with a family in need, call 877-708-4357.

Horwath is the agriculture reporter for

The Dickinson Press. Email him at

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
(701) 456-1207