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Drought Resources

This summer's intense drought conditions are a substantial burden to many Montana ag producers. In addition to forcing difficult decisions about crops and livestock, the drought contributes to wildfire risk and affects water availability and quality nationwide.

Senator Tester is leading a bipartisan effort to establish a drought task force to help Montanans and Americans affected by this summer's drought. He is also calling on the United States Department of Agriculture to improve the accuracy of the drought monitor it uses to measure drought severity.

Drought Disaster Declaration

The Secretary of Agriculture may designate counties as disaster areas to make emergency loans to producers suffering losses in those counties and in counties that are contiguous to a designated county. In Montana, these counties are:

Beaverhead
Big Horn
Broadwater
Carbon*
Carter*
Custer
Deer Lodge*
Fallon*
Gallatin
Garfield*
Golden Valley*
Granite*
Jefferson
Lewis & Clark*
Madison
Meagher*
Musselshell*
Park*
Petroleum*
Powder River*
Powell*
Prairie*
Ravalli*
Rosebud
Silver Bow
Stillwater*
Treasure*
Yellowstone

*Indicates county is eligible for assistance because it is adjacent to a disaster county.

More counties may be added to the list as the drought incident progresses.

Drought Tracking

Drought Monitor

NOAA Drought Information Center

DNRC Drought and Water Information

National Integrated Drought Information System

Drought Assistance Programs

Bureau of Reclamation Drought Resources

USDA Disaster and Drought Assistance

USDA County FSA Office Directory

The Emergency Loan Program provides loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, other natural disasters, or quarantine. Click here for emergency loan data by state and fiscal year.

The Disaster Debt Set-Aside Program provides producers who have existing direct loans with FSA who are unable to make the scheduled payments to move up to one full year's payment to the end of the loan. Click here for disaster debt set-aside data by state and fiscal year.

The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) provides assistance to producers if their land was damaged by a natural disaster and needs conservation practices.

The Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) provides assistance for crop losses when federal crop insurance is not available.

The Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program is also available to producers who suffered crop losses in counties declared a disaster by the Secretary of Agriculture. SURE is currently expired. Sen. Tester has introduced legislation to restore the program, retroactive to cover this year's losses.

The Livestock Forage Disaster Assistance Program (LFP) provides cash payments to eligible producers who suffered grazing losses because of drought. LFP is currently expired. Sen. Tester has introduced legislation to restore the program, retroactive to cover this year's losses.

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm- Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides assistance for grazing losses due to blizzards and wildfires which are not adequately addressed by other disaster programs. Assistance for feed losses is also available. ELAP is currently expired. Sen. Tester has introduced legislation to restore the program, retroactive to cover this year's losses.

The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provides cash payments to eligible producers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. LIP is currently expired. Sen. Tester has introduced legislation to restore the program, retroactive to cover this year's losses.

Haying and Grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres allows producers to hay or graze CRP acreage during an emergency.

Haying and Grazing Resources

Emergency haying and grazing in Montana

  • On Aug. 29, 2012, Secretary Vilsack announced a two-month extension for approved emergency grazing for general CRP practices for the eligible 51 out of 56 Montana counties. 
  • 200,000 additional CRP acres are now eligible upon Aug. 3rd approval by the STC and State Technical Committee to allow previously ineligible practices. 51 out of 56 counties are approved. Counties NOT approved are: Liberty, Lincoln, Mineral, Sanders and Toole. All but Glacier were approved because they are at least a DO (Abnormally Dry). Glacier qualified as a secretarial authorization for emergency haying and grazing because it had a 40 percent or greater loss in precipitation and production for the last four full months.
  • The ECP program is approved for "drought emergency measures" in Stillwater, Carbon, Yellowstone, Big Horn and Sweet Grass counties. Producers in these three counties who need assistance with water conservation and enhancement measures to 1.) permit grazing of range, pasture or forage by livestock; 2.) supply emergency water for existing irrigation systems serving orchards and vineyards; or 3.) provide emergency water for confined livestock operations should contact the county FSA county offices.

FSA HayNet
Montana FSA State Office
PO Box 670
Bozeman, MT 59771
(406) 587-6872
http://www.fsa.usda.gov/mt

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Glendive, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Glendive

122 W Towne
Glendive, MT 59330
Phone: (406) 365-2391
Fax: (406) 365-8836

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

14 Third Street E, Suite 230
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front Street
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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