Montana ranchers need hay after fires destroy crops

Emergency coordinators putting out calls for donations

Montana ranchers are in need of hay donations to feed their livestock to help offset the 300,000 acres destroyed in recent fires, according to reports.

Calls have been sent out to the surrounding areas by disaster and emergency services, but responses have been sparse so far. “We’ve been so dang dry, we haven’t had much of a hay crop,” said Chuck Lee, Fallon County Disaster and Emergency Services coordinator in Baker County, Montana. “Anyone who has any hay is hanging on to it in case they need it.” In addition, say coordinators, those affected may not yet know what or how much they need.

The Farm Service Agency is putting together a letter to the state Farm Services Office asking for assistance. From there, the request will be sent to Washington, D.C. The committee is likely to seek implementation of the Emergency Conservation Program, which will allow the use of land in the Conservation Reserve Program by victims of the fire. Conservation Reserve Program lands are generally marginal lands that farmers are paid not to use, even for grazing.