While parts of the state have been dealing with flooding, as a Bozeman Daily Chronicle article pointed out yesterday, other parts are still contending with drought. Several counties in North Central Montana are experiencing D4 “Exceptional Drought,” the most severe drought category. I’ve had a couple questions so I’m updating a post I wrote last year around this time.
Here is an overview of resources I’ve used and/or have heard are helpful. Please get in touch if there’s something you think I should add.
Disaster assistance from USDA:
- The press release linked above is from 2021, but the program descriptions are still accurate.
- To navigate through different programs, producers can use the FSA’s Disaster Assistance Discovery tool.
- Many programs are administered through the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
- If you are unfamiliar with FSA, this MontGuide can help.
- Intertribal Agriculture Council also offers technical assistance for Indian producers signing up for FSA programs.
Drought workshop recordings:
- Recordings from the MSU Animal and Range Extension 2021 drought webinar series: Covering drought livestock reproduction strategies, forage, cattle and range management.
- Recordings from the University of Wyoming RightRisk Drought Contingency Plan webinar: Tips on developing and evaluating a drought contingency plan and communication between permitees and federal agencies.
Stress and Mental Health and Communication Resources:
- Ag negotiation resources: Drought can necessitate re-negotiating stocking rates or other considerations. These guides can help to prepare.
- Montana Ag Producer Stress Resource Clearinghouse: Resources to help measure and manage stress and mental health for the ag community.
- Free counseling for any Montanan involved in agriculture: This program is new and it seems like a hugely valuable resource!
And if you’ve been on the other end of the disaster spectrum and have seen losses from flooding, many of the FSA disaster assistance resources apply. If you haven’t already, it’s not a bad idea to check in with your local FSA office to report damages and see if help may be available.