Tester Rallies Help as Flooding Threatens Folks Across Montana

Senator Tells Feds to be “On Call” to Assist with Recovery Efforts

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is rallying help as Montanans begin to tally their losses after a long, record-breaking winter across the Treasure State. Tester alerted the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the state of emergency across Montana as a record amount of snow begins to melt and flooding threatens homes, businesses, livestock, and property.

“[I’m] urging your immediate attention to the potential flooding crises facing multiple communities throughout Montana,” Tester told the top Administration officials. “I request that you expedite federal assistance requested by these communities and the State of the Montana in cases where rapidly melting snow and flash flooding incur massive damage to homeowners, agriculture, businesses, and public facilities.”

Tester asked these agencies to stay “on call” as the situation develops, so they can help state officials conduct “swift response and recovery” efforts if and when disaster strikes. Tester emphasized the potentially devastating impact this flooding could have on Montana’s farmers and ranchers in particular.

“Following record snowfall this winter, flooding will disrupt agriculture operations in Montana this Spring as snow melts and floods Montana’s valleys,” Tester wrote. “Agriculture is vital to Montana’s economy. We must ensure that our farmers and ranchers have the tools and resources to deal with challenges presented by Mother Nature.”

Ranchers on the Blackfeet Reservation have already lost thousands of cattle to the flooding and soggy fields have forced many farmers to significantly delay spring seeding, including Tester. Tester’s farm experienced significant flooding earlier this month, forcing him to delay planting-which usually occurs in late March-to this week.

Tester also stressed that the “immense snowfall on the Blackfeet, Fort Belknap, and Northern Cheyenne Reservations” will require significant monitoring and support from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and their and interagency partners.

After this summer’s historic wildfire season, Tester helped secure additional staffing at USDA offices to help Montana farmers and ranchers facing extreme drought. He also launched an online portal where Montanans who were impacted by fire and drought could contact his office to receive help. He has now expanded that portal to folks affected by snow and flooding, which you can access below.

Tester’s letter is available HERE.