(Helena, Mont.)— The Montana Stockgrowers Association, representing the business interests of Montana’s cattle ranching sector, and the foremost organization representing Montana’s water users, the Montana Water Resources Association, have joined forces with the Montana Farm Bureau Federation to support the state of Montana’s proposed Water Compact with the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (CSKT).
“The Stockgrowers Association conducted a thorough legal analysis of the current CSKT Water Compact and through that analysis, our organization is supporting this Compact,” said Gene Curry, President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “It is important to protect historic water uses on and off the reservation and provide some certainty for all water right holders in Montana.”
The support of the Stockgrowers comes after the Montana Farm Bureau Federation declared their support of the Compact during the January 12th meeting of the Montana Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission and the Commission’s unanimous vote to move the Compact to the Montana State Legislature for further approval.
“We were very diligent in our review of the Compact and the impact it would have on our members if passed,” said Montana Farm Bureau Federation spokeswoman Chelcie Cremer. “Montana’s farmers and ranchers depend on reliable access to water to preserve their livelihoods. The Compact will protect Montana’s agricultural industries and ensure water rights certainty for future generations.”
The Montana Water Resources Association also joined in supporting the Compact, citing the protection of private property and water rights that the Compact provides.
“If the Compact fails irrigators and water users will be forced to shoulder the costs of the litigation that will result,” said Mike Murphy of the Montana Water Resources Association. “Specifically, the Compact provides provisions that protect irrigators both on and off the reservation and ensure they are able to obtain access to the water resources they need. Protection of water and other property rights is of utmost importance to our organization and is an important aspect of why we support passing the Compact.”
“We are excited that the Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Montana Water Resources Association have joined FARM and the Montana Farm Bureau Federation in supporting the CSKT Water Compact,” said FARM Co-Chair and long-time Stockgrowers member, Lorents Grosfield. “These groups uniting shows that passing the Compact is truly for the benefit of all Montanans and will protect the interests of Montana’s farmers and ranchers.”
The support of the Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Montana Water Resources Association for the Compact shows the continued growth of support for the Compact among the agriculture community, irrigators, and water users across the state.
Farmers and Ranchers for Montana (FARM) is a grassroots coalition of farmers and ranchers, united with local leaders, Indian tribes, businesses and other Montanans committed to fair water policies and the approval of a Water Compact that quantifies and secures water access to the benefit of all Montanans. For more information visit www.montanawatercompact.com
(Joint Press Release with Farmers and Ranchers for Montana)