MEADE COUNTY, South Dakota (KNBN) -- As the snow melts in western South Dakota, devastation for hundreds of ranchers reveals itself. Dead cattle scattered across the land show a hard hit for the local economy, and heartbreak for those ranch families.

Ranchers like Richard Rausch discovered cattle suffocated by the snow.

"In my lifetime, I've never seen a storm like this," Rausch said.

Richard and his son Jacob estimate upwards of 60 percent of their herd died during the winter storm that ripped through the region. It's a plight hundreds of agriculature producers face as the snow drifts reveal more bad news.

Meade County Commission Chairman Robert Heidgerken says the scope is enormous.

"We have thousands of cattle dead in Meade County," Heidgerken said.

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