FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 15, 2015
Mike Wessler, Deputy Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9725
Jayson O’Neill, Communications Director, Montana Department of Agriculture, 444-3684
HELENA – Governor Steve Bullock today announced fifteen Montana counties have been designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as primary natural disaster areas due to drought conditions, and nine additional ones have been named contiguous disaster counties. Secretary Tom Vilsack notified Bullock through a letter this morning. This declaration allows farm operators in these designated counties to be considered for assistance from the Farm Services Agency (FSA) to recover from losses as a result of a natural disaster.
Counties designated as primary disaster areas are:
- Deer Lodge
- Lewis & Clark
- Silver Bow
Areas designated as contiguous disaster counties are:
“Farmers from many Montana communities are feeling the impacts of drought conditions. This declaration will provide much needed assistance to agriculture producers that have seen or will have significant crop damage or loss,” Bullock said of the declaration. “With low snowpack and rain, we know many other communities throughout the state are struggling with dry conditions, and my administration will work closely with the USDA to monitor conditions and take any appropriate steps to provide assistance.”
Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the disaster declaration to apply for an emergency loan. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with more information. More information about this declaration can be found at: http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov
The Montana Drought Advisory Committee, which is chaired by Lt. Gov. Angela McLean, will meet tomorrow, July 16th, in Helena to discuss the latest drought conditions in the state.
Vilsack’s letter can be found at: http://governor.mt.gov/Portals/16/docs/2015PressReleases/USDA%20Secretarial%20Disaster%20Designations%207-15-2015.pdf