Tester urges help for Montana farmers
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., is cranking up the heat on the U.S. Department of Agriculture and requesting that they send disaster recovery assistance to farmers and ranchers who were impacted by drought and wildfires in eastern Montana.
Tester is urging Farm Service Agency Administrator Steve Peterson to release Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funds to 15 Montana counties.
“Montana is experiencing a devastating drought that is threatening the livelihood of countless farmers and ranchers and causing substantial economic hardship in small rural communities responsible for feeding America,” wrote Tester. “In addition to drought, devastating wildfires destroyed crops, and infrastructure across several Montana counties this summer.”
ECP funds can be used to help repair damaged farmland and establish new methods for water conservation.
Tester’s request covers Blaine, Carter, Custer, Daniels, Fallon, Fergus, Garfield, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan and Valley counties.
In September, Tester secured $2.5 million in Environmental Quality Incentive Program funds for Montana farmers and ranchers. In July, 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.