Local family’s efforts for SD don’t go unnoticed


When Ty Linger began to collect donated bred heifers to replace the ones lost in last year’s early October winter storm that devastated producers in parts of South Dakota, he had something small in mind, a little help here and there. His wife posted the idea on Facebook.

But as the project, Heifers for South Dakota, grew, so did Ty’s ambitions. Maybe he could give more than a few animals. 

“We were hoping to donate 1,000 head, and we’ve done even better,” he said.

By the time all is said and done, between 1,050 and 1,060 head of high-quality heifers will have been donated, with around 70 farm families and individual producers receiving donations.

The project is finally winding up, after several months of determined effort. As of Thursday, there are 176 heifers being held at a feedlot for breeding season. Once they have been bred, they will be delivered. But even before that, there are around 40 head waiting at the Miles City Livestock Commission yards that will ship out today and tomorrow.

And, according to Linger, a truckload of cattle will be arriving from Virginia as soon as “we have a five- to seven-day window of decent weather” in the East. The animals will have to be given some time to adapt to the colder temperatures before being delivered to their new homes.

In addition, there has been a total of $260,000 in monetary donations, plus uncountable donations of trucks, equipment, paperwork processing, fee waivers, and just plain time to coordinate what turned into a major project. In addition, veterinarians donated their time to inspect cattle. State brand inspectors either suspended or donated their fees. 

No detail was too small to be overlooked. 

When a 4-H’er in Wyoming wanted to donate her heifer, she was unconcerned that the donation would leave her with an incomplete project. After some discussion, it was agreed that she would get full credit, and her heifer went off to South Dakota.

A committee in South Dakota was put together to select the producers to receive the donations, making sure that they were young producers who were determined to stay in the business.

The work of Ty and his wife, Rosalie, has not gone unnoticed. The Miles City Area Chamber of Commerce awarded the Harvey Wolke Award at this year’s Chamber banquet. The award is not given every year, but only for an exceptional accomplishment, which Heifers for South Dakota certainly is.

As Linger has said repeatedly throughout the months of cold weather and complications, this project is proof of the generosity of people and “an amazing gift.”