National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Mike John sent a letter this week to the White House and the USDA requesting federal assistance for cattle stranded by blizzards in the High Plains area, and federal help has arrived.
Colorado's governor also called for federal disaster assistance for tens of thousands of stranded animals. Helicopters have been carrying out a haylift to keep cattle alive, and the National Guard is helping with the operation that has dropped over 900 bales of hay to stranded animals in eastern Colorado.
Ranchers have also landed near livestock to open water for the animals by breaking ice on streams. Haylift pilots say most of the groups are smaller, with 10 to 20 cows.
There is no official estimate of how many cattle have died, but Maj. Gen. Mason Whitney of the Colorado Guard says there are probably around 30,000 cattle needing assistance.