Senator Tester helps secure $2.5 million for Montana farmers, ranchers impacted by wildfire


(U.S. Senate) – After demanding the federal government step up and provide Montana with the resources it needs, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced that approximately 30 Montana farmers and ranchers will receive $2.5 million to help rebuild after devastating wildfires ravaged eastern Montana.

“After our relentless persistence, Montana farmers will begin to see some relief from what has been a historically difficult summer,” said Tester. “This is the first wave of meaningful resources that will help producers rebuild after horrific devastation. I will keep rattling cages in Washington to ensure every farmer gets what they need to rebuild.”

This funding comes from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), which can assist with livestock grazing deferment, damaged fence and post removal, livestock fencing, water facility development, critical area plantings, and cover crops.

In July, Tester penned a letter to Secretary Perdue asking the USDA to tap into disaster assistance initiatives, which Tester secured in the 2014 Farm Bill.

Tester will continue to fight for additional resources for EQIP and other programs to assist with drought and fire relief. Montana farmers and ranchers interested in future EQIP sign-ups should contact their local Natural Resources Conservation Service office for additional information.

Tester also helped secure additional staffing at USDA offices to help Montana farmers and ranchers facing extreme drought.

Tester has launched an online portal where Montanans who are impacted by fire and drought can contact his office and receive help.