The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Jon Tester
Chiming In 

Open Letter to the USDA


Editor's note: U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced at press time that farmers and ranchers in six Montana counties will have access to drought assistance through U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster relief programs. The following is an open letter Tester sent to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue last week.

Today I write to urge you to work with agricultural producers in Montana who are facing severe drought disaster conditions. The U.S. Drought Monitor, in recent days, designated six Montana counties at the second-highest drought intensity level, Extreme Drought. The counties include Garfield, McCone, Daniels, Sheridan, Valley and Roosevelt. The extreme drought is on the livelihoods of producers, our rural communities, and our food supply. We must act quickly to mitigate the disaster and prevent long-term damage.

The extreme drought designation, along with USDA’s approval, allow producers to be eligible for the Livestock Forage Program, Emergency Conservation Program and Emergency Livestock Assistance Program. I ask you to prioritize approving applications to these programs for producers in the extreme drought designated areas. Swift approval will help producers minimize losses and protect their herds and crops.

Additionally, I urge USDA to approve emergency haying and grazing on CRP land as soon as possible. While it’s important to observe environmental safeguards, this is an extreme situation that requires all solutions to be on the table.

Montana producers work hard each year to raise livestock and produce a good crop. Unfortunately, sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas. That’s why emergency disaster programs are vital to rural America and to our food security. Thank you for your efforts to help Montana producers get through this difficult period.

Jon Tester is the senior United States Senator from Montana. Farmers and ranchers affected by the drought are eligible to receive payments through the USDA’s Livestock Forage Disaster Program. Payments are determined by the intensity and length of the drought for the impacted areas.The Livestock Forage Disaster Program is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Assistance is available for producers in Garfield, McCone, Daniels, Sheridan, Valley, and Roosevelt Counties.


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