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Montana Ag Network: Wildfire recovery resources for ranchers

Posted at 10:28 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 09:40:14-04

As livestock and landowners take inventory of the damage caused by wildfires, many are preparing to rebuild from the ashes.

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) is helping producers find resources they need to make this happen.

“USDA’s Farm Service Agency FSA is the place to start,” said Jay Bodner, executive vice president of MSGA. “They have the livestock Indemnity Program. That program has been set up for direct losses for any adverse events that happen. So, either fire, weather, any of those the events. They do need some documentation to go through that. They also do have the Livestock Forage Disaster Program. There are some enrollment requirements but it’s a program that may be able to be of some assistance.”

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) also has resources available through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program.

“That program is designed to help with soil erosion or any rehabilitation or recovery,” said Bodner. "It really helps out those producers who maybe have fences burned out, or stock tanks burned out. A lot of opportunity there to try to help with some of those things that producers have faced.”

Producers grazing on federal or state lands may also have resources available.

“In many cases, the Bureau of Land Management will supply at least fencing material. They don't supply the labor, but they do certainly the material if it's all on BLM land.”

Hay stockpiles have also been lost due to fire. Montana's Hay hotline, an online portal where producers can donate, buy or sell hay can be found at the Montana Department of Agriculture's website.

The state of Montana’s Disaster and Emergency Services also offers valuable information for those impacted by wildfire.