Following a push by Montana legislators, the United States Department of Agriculture has announced it will open Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land in Montana for emergency haying and grazing.

“I am pleased to see the USDA listen to my request for this emergency assistance for our farmers and ranchers as we face extreme drought conditions. The USDA should not stop here. We need them to go farther and designate ALL Montana counties as primary natural disaster areas and provide farmers and ranchers additional resources and support,” Senator Steve Daines said in a press release from his office.

“As Montana experiences historic drought conditions, the Montana agriculture community is hurting and in dire need of assistance. I am pleased the USDA is taking this commonsense step and opening CPR land for grazing,” Representative Matt Rosendale said, according to the same press release. “I hope the USDA will continue to provide much needed relief by designating all Montana counties as natural disaster areas so Montana farmers and ranchers can access the critical aid they deserve.

“The Conservation Reserve Program is critically important to wildlife habitat and erosion protection, however, this extreme situation requires all possible solutions to be on the table and all agencies to cooperate to provide relief as soon as possible. I appreciate your commitment to producers and stand ready to work with you to address this crisis,” said Senator Jon Tester in a letter to the USDA on June 30.

On July 12, Daines and Rosendale sent a letter to the USDA requesting it open CRP land and to emergency haying and grazing, designate all Montana counties as primary disaster areas, and provide additional drought relief and flexibilities to Montana farmers and ranchers, according to the press release from Daines’ office.

Daines and Rosendale support Governor Greg Gianforte’s request for drought relief for all Montana counties. They will also continue to fight for Montana farmers and ranchers, according to the press release.

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