Policy changes will help more producers recover from natural disasters
WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made updates to several conservation, livestock and crop disaster assistance programs to give more farmers, ranchers, and tribes the opportunity to apply for and access programs that support recovery following natural disasters. Specifically, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) expanded eligibility and enhanced available benefits for a suite of its programs. These updates will provide critical assistance to producers who need to rebuild and recover after suffering catastrophic losses of production and infrastructure due to natural disasters.
FSA has updated the following programs: The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP), the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish (ELAP), the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP).
“As I meet with producers across the country, I have gained a better understanding of the ways in which our programs work—and the ways in which they can be improved to better support all producers, especially those who are working to rebuild their operations after a disaster,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “This set of updates to our disaster assistance programs reflects FSA’s commitment to listening to producers and responding to their needs wherever we have the authorities to do so. We are confident that these changes will increase the both the accessibility and efficacy of our disaster assistance programs, consistent with our goal to build equity into the fabric of our work at the FSA.”
Conservation Disaster Assistance Updates
FSA updated ECP to:
Additionally, Congress also authorized the Federal government to pay 100% of the ECP and EFRP cost for damage associated with the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire in New Mexico. This fire burned over 340,000 acres from April 2022 to June 2022 and was the largest wildfire in recorded history in New Mexico. ECP and EFRP cost-share assistance is typically capped at 75%. This policy change for 100% cost-share applies only to those locations impacted by the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire.
ECP and EFRP provide financial and technical assistance to restore conservation practices like fencing, damaged farmland or forests.
Livestock Disaster Assistance Updates
FSA also expanded eligible livestock under ELAP, LFP and LIP. Specifically, horses maintained on eligible grazing land are eligible for ELAP, LFP and LIP. Many family farms and ranches use their forage to raise horses to augment their other agriculture endeavors. FSA recognizes that animals maintained in a commercial agriculture operation, add value to the operation and could be available for marketing from the farm. FSA regulations have been updated to include these animals as eligible livestock
Horses and other animals that are used or intended to be used for racing and wagering remain ineligible.
Ostriches are also now eligible for LFP and ELAP. FSA is making this change because ostriches satisfy more than 50% of their net energy requirement through the consumption of growing forage grasses and legumes and are therefore considered “grazing animals”.
This change for ostriches is effective for the 2022 program year for both LFP and ELAP. ELAP requires a notice of loss to be filed with FSA within 30 days of when the loss is first apparent. Because this deadline may have passed for 2022, FSA is extending the deadline for filing notices of loss through March 31, 2023.
LIP and ELAP reimburses producers for a portion of the value of livestock, poultry and other animals that died as a result of a qualifying natural disaster event or for loss of grazing acres, feed and forage. LFP provides benefits for grazing losses due to drought and eligible wildfires on federally managed lands.
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance
NAP provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters. Basic NAP coverage is equivalent to the catastrophic level risk protection plan of insurance coverage, which is based on the amount of loss that exceeds 50% of expected production at 55% of the average market price for the crop.
Previously, to be eligible for NAP coverage, a producer had to submit an application (Form CCC-471) for NAP coverage on or before the application closing date. For 2022, if a producer has a Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification (Form CCC-860) on file with FSA, it will serve as an application for basic coverage for all eligible crops having a 2022 application closing date and all NAP-related service fees for basic coverage will be waived for these producers.
FSA will notify all eligible producers who already have the CCC-860 certification form on file of their eligibility for NAP basic coverage for 2022. To potentially receive NAP assistance, producers who suffered losses due to natural disasters in 2022 should file an acreage report as well as a notice of loss with the FSA at their local Service Center.
Producers who are interested in obtaining NAP coverage for 2023 and subsequent years should also contact their local FSA county office for information on eligibility, coverage options and applying for coverage.
Producers impacted by a natural disaster should report losses and damages and file an application with their FSA county office. Timelines for reporting losses and applying for payments differ by program.
For LIP and ELAP, producers will need to file a Notice of Loss for livestock and grazing or feed losses within 30 days and honeybee losses within 15 days. For LFP, producers must provide a completed application for payment and required supporting documentation to their FSA office within 30 calendar days after the end of the calendar year in which the grazing loss occurred.
For NAP, producers should contact their local FSA office for guidelines on submitting a notice of loss and filing an acreage certification.
The updates to these programs build on other Biden-Harris administration efforts to improve disaster assistance programs, including additional flexibility in obtaining Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) basic coverage for socially disadvantaged, beginning, limited resource and veteran farmers and ranchers.
Previous enhancement to the ELAP provide program benefits to producers of fish raised for food and other aquaculture species as well as cover above normal expenses for transporting livestock to forage and grazing acres and transport feed to livestock impacted by qualifying drought. And earlier updates to the LIP payment rates better reflect the true market value of non-adult beef, beefalo, bison and dairy animals.
Yesterday, FSA announced it would begin accepting applications for the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase Two and the new Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP) on Jan. 23, 2023, through June 2, 2023. ERP Phase Two is designed to fill gaps in the delivery of program benefits not covered in ERP Phase One and improves equity in program delivery to underserved producers. PARP will help address gaps in previous pandemic assistance, which was targeted at price loss or lack of market access, rather than overall revenue losses. Learn more in the Jan. 9, 2023 news release.
On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help producers and landowners determine program or loan options. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. For FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, contact the local USDA Service Center.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
The Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program makes federal funds available to states, U.S. territories, Indian tribal governments, and local communities to reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings and structures insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
Emergency work may be performed without a permit if it is necessary in order to safeguard your life or property – including livestock and crops. This applies to rivers, streams, and some ditches.
Commissioner Downing recommends that any person who has sustained property damage to immediately contact his or her agent to identify whether they have flood insurance coverage. Property owners who have flood insurance should promptly begin the process to file a claim.
Any person who has sustained property damage and does not have flood insurance should contact his or her county’s emergency manager so their damages can be added to the damage assessment tally. Click HERE for Local Disaster and Emergency Services Contact Information. The assessments will be tallied for all affected counties and will be used to determine whether an amendment should be sought to the disaster declaration for individual assistance.
We encourage property owners to review the more general information below to identify steps they can take to document their damages and minimize their flood losses. Our team is ready to assist property owners if they have any questions on filing a claim with their agent or insurance company or encounter any issues when dealing with their insurance company.
Montana has experienced extensive flooding during the week of June 12, 2022. This flooding has resulted in extensive damage to state and county infrastructure (such as roadways and utilities) as well as extensive damage to private homes. The State of Montana is trying collect private property damages and contact information. Please visit the link below to complete the survey.
Montana’s Department of Commerce has a Resources for Flooding Recovery page that has resources for those affected by the flooding, or for travelers in the area.
If you wish to assist those affected by the flooding please, please visit the flooding donations link below to find organizations that are assisting in the recovery.
Community Donations Resources For Flooding
SBA DISASTER LOAN ASSISTANCE
US Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance
Disaster Loan Assistance
UNEMPLOYMENT RESOURCES FOR FLOODING VICTIMS
Individuals who have lost work due to flooding may be eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. To file a claim online, visit MontanaWorks.gov. You can also call the Unemployment Insurance Division’s Claims Processing Center at (406) 444-2545 if you have questions.
Job Service Montana
Job Service Montana locations can help provide a range of resources to those out of work or seeking work due to this disaster. Individuals impacted can contact Job Service Billings at (406) 652-3080.
We encourage you to share this information with individuals you may know in the impacted areas.
To stay up-to-date, visit the Montana Department of Labor & Industry’s website and follow its Facebook page.
MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY WEBSITE
Learn about USDA disaster assistance programs that might be right for you by completing five simple steps.
Provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire on land that is native or improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or that is planted specifically for grazing. Learn more about LFP.
Provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather or by attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government. Learn more about LIP.
Provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease (including cattle tick fever), adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, not covered by LFP and LIP. Learn more about ELAP.
Provides loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, other natural disasters, or quarantine by animal quarantine laws or imposed by the Secretary under the Plant Protection Act. Learn more.
Provides producers who have existing direct loans with FSA who are unable to make the scheduled payments to move up to one full year’s payment to the end of the loan. Assistance is available in counties, or contiguous counties, who have been designated as emergencies by the President, Secretary or FSA Administrator. Learn more.
Helps farmers and ranchers repair damage to farmlands caused by natural disasters and helps put in place water conservation methods during severe drought. Learn more about ECP.
Helps owners of non-industrial private forests restore forest health damaged by natural disasters. Learn more about EFRP.
Physical loss loans can help producers repair or replace damaged or destroyed physical property essential to the success of the agricultural operation, including livestock losses. Examples of property commonly affected include essential farm buildings, fixtures to real estate, equipment, livestock, perennial crops, fruit and nut bearing trees and harvested or stored crops and hay.
Triggering Disaster Event: Blizzard and excessive snow that occurred April 11, 2022, through April 24, 2022
Application Deadline: March 20, 2023
Primary Counties Eligible: Custer and Prairie
Contiguous Areas also Eligible: Montana: Carter, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, McCone, Powder River, Rosebud and Wibaux
On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help you determine program or loan options. To file a Notice of Loss or to ask questions about available programs, contact your local USDA Service Center.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program, which responds to emergencies created by natural disasters. It is not necessary for a national emergency to be declared for an area to be eligible for assistance.
Grants are available for emergency projects that pose an immediate threat to the beneficial management of a renewable resource and, if delayed, will cause substantial damage or legal liability.
Emergency Loan Program
DNRC has the authority to provide up to $10 million in emergency loan financing each biennium. The amount of each loan is limited by the applicant’s bonded debt capacity. The financial guidelines and security requirements normally required for the issuance of general obligation or revenue bonds apply. Interest rates vary with the coal severance bond rate and may be adjusted by the legislature. The term of the loan is also variable, but typically is limited to 20 years.
Loan financing will require the processes and time constraints normally associated with the incurrence of bonded indebtedness by a governmental entity.
Emergency Grant Program
Grant assistance is limited to only serious emergencies that meet program requirements. The emergency must pose an immediate threat to the beneficial management of a renewable resource, and all reasonable funding sources investigated before an emergency grant will be awarded. DNRC will award grants or loans for an emergency project that, if delayed until legislative approval can be obtained, will cause substantial damages or legal liability to the entity seeking assistance.
Typical types of projects have included:
Emergency grants and loans are available to:
To initiate a request for emergency grant or loan assistance, contact the Emergency Grant Program staff. A detailed description of the problem, the proposed solution, and any financial information, including the estimated cost of the project and proposed funding sources, will be required to expedite the application process.
Emergency grants are limited to $30,000 per project. Limited funding is available for emergency grants from DNRC each biennium.
Apply for an Emergency Grant online at grants.dnrc.mt.gov
Following initial notification, a DNRC engineer will contact you and arrange for a site investigation. A determination will be made by the DNRC Director’s Office within a matter of days, and a grant or loan agreement will be executed accordingly. Grant funding is available almost immediately, usually 45 to 60 days assuming that adequate rates and charges are already in effect.
The Disaster Assistance Improvement Program’s (DAIP) mission is to provide disaster survivors with information, support, services, and a means to access and apply for disaster assistance through joint data-sharing efforts between federal, tribal, state, local, and private sector partners.
Before you start your FEMA application, please have the information below and a pen and paper ready.
NEED HELP? If you need help with the application, please call FEMA at one of the phone numbers below.
1‑800‑621‑3362 (711 available)
If you use a video relay service, captioned phone, or other communication service, give FEMA the number for that service.
You must follow the instructions provided for each program. This may require going to other agency websites.
Read How do I search for assistance on our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page to learn more.
Ranchers wanting to hone their grazing management skills are encouraged to register for this year’s 406 Grazing Academy. The 3-day, hands-on workshop is offered by the Rangeland Resources Program in the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), Montana State University (MSU) Extension Range Management, and MSU’s Dan Scott Ranch Management Program. Montana Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative has helped by graciously sponsoring this year’s Academy.
Participants will gain practical information to help them make strategic decisions for their ranch. Topics include economic optimum stocking rates, diverse grazing strategies, range monitoring, extending the grazing season, livestock-wildlife relations, targeted grazing, and coping with drought, wildfire and poisonous plants. Successful Montana ranchers and other range managers from across the state will share their expertise and complement presentations by the educators. It is recommended that workshop participants bring a laptop to be able to practice with Web Soil Survey and other online tools. Participants may also wish to bring a map of their ranch to be able to better engage instructors with ranch-specific questions. The workshop also includes an optional follow-up ranch visit by an instructor later in summer or fall.
The workshop will be held June 6-8, 2023. Classroom activities will occur in Anaconda, MT at The Forge Hotel with field activities held on working ranches in the Deer Lodge Valley, MT. A block of rooms is available at a reduced rate at The Forge Hotel, ask for DNRC 406 Grazing Academy to receive the reduced price. Both registration and the room block close May 15th. Space is limited, and early registration is encouraged.
Registration is $200/person and covers educational materials including a range monitoring kit valued at over $200, as well as noon and evening meals. Participants are responsible for travel and lodging expenses.
To register click here: https://opp.mt.gov/doa/opp/DNRRangelandResourceProgram/cart
June 7, 2023 | 9:00 a.m.
Please register by May 21, 2023
Deer Lodge Elks, 230 Main Street, Deer Lodge, MT 59722
$20 registration includes lunch and dinner
Register Online at www.eventbrite.com/e/2nd-annualmontana-glci-kicking-grass-tour-tickets-605264120277
Or return postcard with registration to:
Bank of Baker C/O Jodi Varner PO Box 739 Baker, MT 59313
Please include number of registrants and contact information.
Call Ben Hauptman (406) 544-5090 with any questions
HELENA – The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet June 8 in Helena at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks headquarters. The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m.
The meeting will be streamed live on the FWP website and YouTube. The public can participate in person or via Zoom. To make a comment via Zoom, you must register by following the link here by noon on June 7.
The commission will make final decisions on the following items:
The commission will also hear a proposal for adjusting some mule deer licenses from either sex license to antlered buck licenses. Additionally, the commission will hear a proposal for a closure on the Jefferson River to accommodate a bridge replacement.
The commission will also hear a petition from members of the public to abolish the Brinkman Game Preserve in Liberty County.
All proposals, supporting documentation, and any collected public comment can be found here.
FWP ensures its meetings are fully accessible to those with special needs. To request arrangements, call FWP at 406-444-3186.
For the full agenda, background on the scheduled topics and public comments, go to the Fish and Wildlife Commission page on the FWP website.
FWP’s website offers live-streamed audio of each Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting.
The next Montana Board of Livestock meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm in the Montana Department of Livestock Conference Room #319, Scott Hart Building, 301 N. Roberts, Helena, MT. The public is welcome to attend this meeting in person, but attendance will also be available virtually by Zoom. Please note that the meeting will be live streamed on the BOL website.
The agenda will be posted to the Department of Livestock website at liv.mt.gov soon. For instructions on how to join the meeting virtually or, if you would like a printed copy of the agenda, please call 406-444-9321 or email at [email protected].
July 6, 2023 | Chico Hot Springs, Montana
Join us in the Paradise Valley for the Montana Range Tour featuring the 2022 Leopold Conservation Award winner, Barney Creek Livestock. In addition to the ranch tour, special guest speaker Nicole Masters will present on topics of interest for grazing land managers.
Hotel information: Chico Hot Springs, Emigrant, MT (406) 333-4933 (Room block name: Leopold Tour)
Register here: https:l/opp.mt.gov/doa/opp/DNRRangelandResourceProgram/cart
****Registration & discounted room rates end May 15, 2023****
HELENA – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is accepting applications from landowners who are interested in participating in the 2023 Block Management Program. Block Management is a cooperative effort between landowners and FWP to help manage wildlife and public hunting activities on enrolled lands.
Through the Block Management program, landowners and FWP enter into voluntary agreements that determine how hunting will be conducted on the landowner’s property. Items such as permission requirements, times when permission will be granted, hunting opportunities provided and vehicle use are a few examples of what is covered in an agreement.
Block Management offers various benefits to landowners enrolled in the program. These benefits include assistance of FWP staff to help monitor hunting activities, compensation to help offset impacts associated with allowing public hunting, wildlife management, a free subscription to Montana Outdoors and a complimentary, non-transferable sportsman or big game combination (non-resident) license. Landowners do not relinquish any rights by enrolling and are covered by Montana’s recreational liability statute as well as livestock loss reimbursement, both of which are extended to landowners who allow access at no charge.
For more information or to receive an application packet, interested landowners can contact their local biologist, warden or FWP regional access manager or contact the Parks and Outdoor Recreation Division main office at 406-444-3750 or email [email protected] .
Bozeman, Montana, April 17, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that agricultural producers and private landowners can begin signing up for the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) starting today and running through May 26, 2023. Among CRP enrollment opportunities, Grassland CRP is a unique working lands program, allowing producers and landowners to continue grazing and haying practices while conserving grasslands and promoting plant and animal biodiversity as well as healthier soil.
“Grassland CRP clearly demonstrates that agricultural productivity and conservation priorities can not only coexist but also complement and enhance one another,” said Maureen Wicks, FSA State Executive Director in Montana. “The strength of this program lies in its many benefits — through annual rental payments, the program helps producers and landowners produce and maintain diverse wildlife habitat, sequester carbon in the soil, and support sound, sustainable grazing. These benefits help keep agricultural lands in production while delivering lasting climate outcomes.”
More than 3.1 million acres were accepted through the 2022 Grassland CRP signup from agricultural producers and private landowners. That signup—the highest ever for the program—reflects the continued success and value of investments in voluntary, producer-led, working lands conservation programs. The current total participation in Grassland CRP is 6.3 million acres, which is part of the 23 million acres enrolled in CRP opportunities overall.
Since 2021, USDA’s FSA, which administers all CRP programs, has made several improvements to Grassland CRP to broaden the program’s reach, including:
How to Sign Up for Grassland CRP
Landowners and producers interested in Grassland CRP, or any other CRP enrollment option, should contact their local USDA Service Center to learn more or to apply for the program before the deadlines.
Producers with expiring CRP acres can enroll in the Transition Incentives Program (TIP), which incentivizes producers who sell or enter into a long-term lease with a beginning, veteran, or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher who plans to sustainably farm or ranch the land.
Other CRP Signups
Under Continuous CRP, producers and landowners can enroll throughout the year. Offers are automatically accepted provided the producer and land meet the eligibility requirements and the enrollment levels do not exceed the statutory cap. Continuous CRP includes a Climate-Smart Practice Incentive to increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by helping producers and landowners establish trees and permanent grasses, enhance wildlife habitat, and restore wetlands.
FSA offers several additional enrollment opportunities within Continuous CRP, including the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) Initiative, the Farmable Wetlands Program (FWP), and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Also available is the Clean Lakes Estuaries and Rivers (CLEAR30) Initiative, which was originally piloted in twelve states but has since been expanded nationwide, giving producers and landowners across the country the opportunity to enroll in 30-year CRP contracts for water quality practices.
USDA hosts an annual General CRP signup. This year’s General CRP signup was open from Feb. 27 through April 7. The program helps producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. The Climate-Smart Practice Incentive is also available in the General signup.
Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest voluntary private-lands conservation programs in the United States. It was originally intended to primarily control soil erosion and potentially stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production. The program has evolved over the years, providing many conservation and economic benefits.
Privately owned grazing lands cover nearly 30 percent of the national landscape, and USDA recognizes the tremendous opportunity address climate-change through voluntary private lands conservation. In addition to CRP, resources are available at FSA’s sister agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Earlier this month, NRCS announced its $12 million investment in cooperative agreements for 49 projects that expand access to conservation technical assistance for livestock producers and increase the use of conservation practices on grazing lands.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
Helena, Mont. – The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is currently recruiting for open positions on its Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council (NWMAC). The following council terms expire June 30, 2023:
The advisory council is appointed by the MDA Director andprovides guidance to the department and the Noxious Weed Programs, which assists Montana counties, local and tribal communities, researchers, and educators in efforts to combat noxious weeds. MDA’s noxious weed programs include the Noxious Weed Trust Fund, Noxious Weed Materials program, Early Detection, Rapid Response program, and State Noxious Weed Coordination. Service terms are two years and members are required to attend three meetings per year: spring grant hearings, a summer tour, and a winter business meeting.
Those interested in serving on the NWMAC are encouraged to submit a letter of interest and application to MDA by May 31, 2023. More information and applications are available on the NWMAC homepage. Nominations can be submitted to: Montana Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 2002014,Helena, MT 59620-0201.
The Montana Department of Agriculture is serving Montana Agriculture and growing prosperity under the Big Sky. For more information on department programs and services, visit agr.mt.gov.
2022 Ag Census Response Deadline: June 1, 2023
Taken only once every five years by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census provides a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them.
The Census of Agriculture covers land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, and expenditures, and more. Census data includes all operations of all sizes – big and small, rural, and urban – raising or selling $1,000 or more of agricultural products.
Visit nass.usda.gov/AgCensus or call 888-424-7828 to learn more.
Applications due by July 2, 2023
Helena, Mont. – The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is currently seeking applications for the AGR HB821 Invasive Woody Tree Management 2023 Grant. Applications are due by Sunday, July 2, 2023.
During the 68th Legislative Session, HB821 passed which appropriated $250,000 from the general fund to the Montana Department of Agriculture for one time only funding for invasive woody tree management in Yellowstone, Musselshell, and Stillwater Counties.
MDA shall provide grants to the appropriate local entities for the purpose of managing and controlling existing infestations of saltcedar, Russian olive, and common buckthorn within the three counties. Applicants must work with and apply through an organization, such as a weed district, conservation district, extension office, non-profit, or tribal weed district to be eligible.
Please contact Jasmine Chaffee at 406-444-3140 for questions about eligibility.
To apply, please visit: funding.mt.gov/.
Nine Partner Organizations to Provide Assistance with ERP Phase Two Applications
WASHINGTON, May 26, 2023 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the deadline for the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase Two and Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP) to July 14, 2023, to give producers more time to apply for assistance. The original deadline was June 2.
Additionally, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is partnering with nine organizations to provide educational and technical assistance to agricultural producers and provide assistance in completing an ERP Phase Two application. The extended deadline will give producers more time to work with these partner organizations and apply for assistance.
“Farm Service Agency recognizes that there is a learning curve for producers applying for our new revenue-based programs and we want to make sure producers have the time they need to apply for assistance,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “Partnering with these organizations through cooperative agreements provides additional educational and technical assistance to producers who may need help with the Emergency Relief Program Phase Two application process. The deadline extension gives producers more time to locate and work with these organizations to complete their program application.”
Cooperative Agreements for ERP Phase Two Application Assistance
Through cooperative agreements with FSA, the following organizations are providing free assistance to producers across the United States and territories.
Depending on a producer’s location, these nine partners can provide assistance either by phone or through online meeting software like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
There is never a charge for technical assistance provided by FSA employees or cooperative agreement recipients. These organizations will assist producers with completing the application and any follow-up future insurance coverage requirements. Producers who receive ERP payments are statutorily required to purchase crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage for the next two available crop years. These organizations will not collect producer records, complete or sign the application form, or act on the producer’s behalf in any way throughout this process.
Find more information on FSA cooperative agreements and contact information for the nine organizations please visit fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/cooperative-agreements/index.
PARP Application Assistance
USDA will host a webinar that focus on completing the PARP application form on June 8, 2023 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. eastern with members of the National Farm Income Tax Extension Committee. Register here.
To be eligible for ERP Phase Two, producers must have suffered a decrease in allowable gross revenue in 2020 or 2021 due to necessary expenses related to losses of eligible crops from a qualifying natural disaster event. Assistance will be primarily to producers of crops that were not covered by Federal Crop Insurance or NAP, since crops covered by Federal Crop Insurance and NAP were included in the assistance under ERP Phase One.
To be eligible for PARP, an agricultural producer must have been in the business of farming during at least part of the 2020 calendar year and had a 15% or greater decrease in allowable gross revenue for the 2020 calendar year, as compared to a baseline year.
FSA offers an online ERP tool and PARP tool that can help producers determine what is considered allowable gross revenue for each respective program.
Producers should contact their local FSA office to make an appointment to apply for ERP Phase Two and PARP assistance. Producers should also keep in mind that July 15 is a major deadline to complete acreage reports for most crops. FSA encourages producers to complete the ERP Phase Two application, PARP application and acreage reporting during the same office visit.
For more information, view the ERP Phase Two Fact Sheet, PARP Fact Sheet, the ERP Phase Two-PARP Comparison Fact Sheet, ERP Phase Two application video tutorial, PARP application video tutorial, myth-buster blog or contact your local USDA Service Center.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America and committing to equity across the department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.
WASHINGTON, May 19, 2023 – The Biden-Harris Administration today announced the availability of $500 million in funding to advance partner-driven solutions to conservation on agricultural land through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). RCPP leverages a voluntary approach to conservation that expands the reach of conservation efforts and climate-smart agriculture through public-private partnerships. Increased funding for fiscal year 2023 is made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, and this year’s funding opportunity reflects a concerted effort to streamline and simplify the program. Program improvements will enable USDA to efficiently implement the $4.95 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funding for the program while improving the experience for partners, agricultural producers, and employees.
“The Regional Conservation Partnership Program leverages the collective power and resources of public-private partnerships to deliver meaningful results for agriculture and conservation,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Thanks to the additional resources unlocked by the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as the improvements being made to the program, more farmers, ranchers, and foresters than ever before will be able to access and deploy conservation and climate-smart practices that will combat the climate crisis, enhance water and soil quality, protect vulnerable wildlife habitat, and more.”
This announcement is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure to driving over $435 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating good paying jobs and building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient. The Inflation Reduction Act represents the single largest investment in climate and clean energy solutions in American history and it includes $19.5 billion for NRCS programs over five years.
The improvements included in this year’s RCPP funding opportunity are part of an ongoing effort to streamline NRCS conservation programs and efficiently implement the Inflation Reduction Act. The RCPP improvement effort identified problems and central issues associated with the program and is working to develop meaningful and actionable improvements.
Based on partner listening sessions and employee and partner surveys, NRCS identified seven key focus areas for improvement, each with a dedicated team working to address identified issues and provide recommendations:
For more information about RCPP and a list of frequently asked questions, visit the NRCS website.
Earlier this month, NRCS also announced improvements to the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program to improve efficiency and effectiveness in conservation easements. In addition, NRCS recently called for input on its targeted water quality initiatives.
The application period is now open for RCPP Classic and RCPP Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFA). RCPP Classic projects are implemented using NRCS contracts and easements with producers, landowners and communities, in collaboration with project partners. Through RCPP AFA, the lead partner must work directly with agricultural producers to support the development of new conservation structures and approaches that would not otherwise be available under RCPP Classic.
Today’s RCPP Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) showcases a number of program improvements including the increase of project funding ceilings, the simplification of financial assistance and technical assistance structures, a stronger emphasis on locally led conservation, and easement deed flexibilities.
Up to $500 million will be available through the RCPP for fiscal year 2023, of which up to $50 million will prioritize AFAs with Indian Tribes.
Projects selected under this NOFO may be awarded funding through either the Inflation Reduction Act or Farm Bill 2018. Applications for RCPP climate-related projects will receive priority consideration for Inflation Reduction Act funding. The 2023 RCPP priorities are climate-smart agriculture, urban agriculture and projects and, as a Justice40 covered program, projects that serve underserved farmers and ranchers.
NRCS will accept applications now through Aug. 18, 2023 via the RCPP portal. Please note that to request access to the portal, you must have a level 2 verified eAuthentication account with USDA. This can be obtained by following the instructions on the USDA eAuthentication page.
NRCS encourages interested applicants to participate in upcoming webinars that will provide general information about this funding announcement. The webinars will take place on May 24 and June 7, from 2-3:30 p.m. ET. Join via this links posted on the RCPP How to Apply website. Additional webinars may be announced as needed.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
WASHINGTON, May 19, 2023 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced plans to roll out $3.7 billion in Emergency Relief Program (ERP) and Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP) assistance to crop and livestock producers who sustained losses due to a qualifying natural disaster event in calendar year 2022. USDA is sharing early information to allow producers time to gather documents in advance of program delivery. Through distribution of remaining funds, USDA is also concluding the 2021 ELRP program by sending payments in the amount of 20% of the initial ELRP payment to all existing recipients.
“U.S. agricultural producers nationwide endured crippling natural disaster events in 2022 including a megadrought, Hurricane Ian, epic flooding and catastrophic wildfires. To say these events were costly is an understatement,” Vilsack said. “Last year USDA streamlined the delivery of natural disaster assistance, speeding up the timing of payments and cutting the time spent on paperwork by 90% or one million hours relative to the previous disaster programs. While we will use the same streamlined approaches, funding is limited and significantly less than the estimated losses. We are designing payment factors that ensure the fair, equitable and efficient delivery of program benefits to help as many producers as possible offset the significant financial impacts resulting from these ongoing and widespread natural disasters.”
On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023 (P.L. 117-328) that provides about $3.7 billion in financial assistance for agricultural producers impacted by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms and other eligible disasters occurring in calendar year 2022.
Additionally, the Act specifically targets up to about $500 million to livestock producers for losses incurred due to drought or wildfire in calendar year 2022.
ERP 2022 for Crop Producers
USDA, through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), intends to deploy the lessons learned from the development and implementation of ERP and ELRP for previous years’ losses to ensure expedited assistance for 2022 losses.
Based on positive feedback from producers, stakeholder groups and FSA county office staff, USDA intends to provide an ERP track for producers who had coverage through Risk Management Agency’s federal crop insurance or FSA’s Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). Through a streamlined application process, USDA intends to be in a position to send pre-filled applications directly to eligible producers in early summer.
For producers who have not been able to avail themselves of risk management coverage or whose losses were not covered, USDA intends to offer a program track to access ERP assistance with assistance provided to producers who suffered a decrease in allowable gross revenue in 2022 due to necessary expenses related to losses of eligible crops from a qualifying natural disaster event.
Instead of implementing these program tracks as two separate phases on different timelines, FSA intends to make both tracks available to producers at the same time, noting that the first track will follow a streamlined process with less paperwork burden, based on existing, available risk management data. The second ERP track would require that producers provide FSA with certain information related to revenue.
ELRP 2022 for Livestock Producers and Close Out of ELRP for 2021
For impacted ranchers, USDA intends to leverage FSA’s Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) data to deliver ELRP assistance for increases in supplemental feed costs in 2022.
To be eligible for an ELRP payment for 2022 losses, livestock producers will need to have suffered grazing losses from wildfire or in a county rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having a D2 (severe drought) for eight consecutive weeks or a D3 (extreme drought) or higher level of drought intensity during the 2022 calendar year and have applied and been approved for 2022 LFP. Additionally, otherwise eligible producers whose permitted grazing on federally managed lands was disallowed due to wildfire will also be eligible for ELRP payments if they applied and were approved for 2022 LFP.
In a continued effort to streamline and simplify the delivery of ELRP benefits, eligible producers will not be required to apply for payment.
Meanwhile, FSA also intends to provide additional assistance to ranchers for qualifying livestock losses from drought and wildfire in 2021. More information will be announced in the coming months.
How Producers Can Prepare
To participate in ERP and ELRP for 2022 losses, both crop and livestock producers should have or be prepared to have the following forms on file with FSA:
Most producers, especially those who have previously participated in FSA programs, will likely have these required forms on file. However, those who are uncertain or want to confirm should contact FSA at their local USDA Service Center.
In addition to the forms listed above, underserved producers are encouraged to register their status with FSA, using Form CCC-860, Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification, as certain existing permanent and ad-hoc disaster programs provide increased benefits or reduced fees and premiums.
Producers with eligible crop losses who did not have federal crop insurance or NAP risk management coverage for 2022 and intend to apply for ERP assistance will need to pull together revenue information that is readily available from most tax records. FSA encourages producers to have their tax documents from the past few years and supporting materials ready including Schedule F (Form 1040) and Profit or Loss from Farming or similar tax documents. FSA will not require these forms to be submitted with the ERP application, but will require a certification, similar to Adjusted Gross Income certification that has been used for many years for Farm Bill programs. Applicants simply report and certify to the information required for the program.
Crop producers who have federal crop insurance coverage should ensure that information on file with their insurance agent is accurate and that any pending activities needed to file loss claims for 2022 losses are addressed as soon as possible. Producers who received ERP assistance last year or who will receive assistance for 2022 losses are required to purchase crop insurance or NAP for the next two crop years.
In the coming months, USDA intends to provide additional information on how to apply for assistance through ERP and ELRP for 2022 losses. Through proactive communications and outreach, USDA will keep producers and stakeholders informed as program eligibility, application and implementation details unfold.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.
One Montana (1MT) launched the Master Hunter Program to help the State of Montana and private landowners improve wildlife management efforts by restoring the cooperation between hunters, private landowners, and game managers.
Find more info at www.mtmasterhunter.com
A website dedicated to the Comprehensive Water Review has been launched. The site details each of the identified key challenges and provides a single place for the public to learn more about upcoming events, find information, receive updates, and submit comments or questions.
Rural Employment Opportunities (REO) provides outreach and services in all of Montana’s 56 counties to more than 400 adults and 900 children each year as they struggle to support themselves and their families. Through REO, Montana’s agricultural workers have access to educational programs to complete their high school credentials, children’s educational programs, job training, and college certificates or degrees. These opportunities lead to full-time employment, improved family income, and greater economic security.
REO supports agricultural workers and their families with:
REO is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Program and abides by all federal and state EOC regulations and laws. Equal Opportunity is the law. Program financed 100% with federal funds of $699,452 with 0% nongovernmental funds.
REO has operated this federal Department of Labor grant for over 30 years, serving farmworkers and their families across the state of Montana. Through this grant, REO offers opportunities for farm workers, and/or their qualifying family members, to improve their earning capacity in agriculture or other career paths through education and training. REO staff members work closely with participants, helping them determine the best way to reach their educational and employment goals. The goal of the program is economic self-sufficiency and wages that allow workers to support and sustain their families.
Participants may choose to attend a vocational, technical, or trade school for short-term job training, work-related certification programs, college courses, or participate in an on-the-job training program or apprenticeship program. They may also work with REO for direct placement into the workforce. In addition, REO is able to support each participant with needed items for training or new employment such as tuition assistance, books, laptops, fuel vouchers, work clothing, and/or tools to help reach their goals.
We have updated our website at www.reomontana.org. On Facebook, we have pages for “Rural Employment Opportunities”, “REO Southwest Montana”, “REO Northwest & North Central Montana”, and “REO Eastern Montana”.
BOZEMAN, Mont., April 6, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that the department is accepting applications through the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG)program to help Cooperative Development Centers improve the economic condition of rural areas by assisting individuals and businesses in the startup, expansion, or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses.
In Montana, USDA Rural Development has worked closely with Mission West Community Development Partners and the Montana Cooperative Development Center to provide funding through the RCDG program which, in turn, has been used to provide expertise and technical assistance to Montana businesses.
As a Regional Economic Development Organization, Mission West Community Development Partners provides community and economic development efforts to help businesses in Lake, Mineral and Sanders counties, as well as the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, grow and prosper.
“Our Cooperative Development Center is a key part of how we’re working to support and sustainably develop the economies of rural western Montana,” noted Mission West Community Development Partners Cooperative Development Center Director, Kaylee Thornley. “Through the USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant program, Mission West has been able to provide technical assistance and training to 33 cooperatives in starting or expanding their business in the last two years.”
Rural Cooperative Development Grants may be used by Rural Cooperative Development Centers to fund operations such as conducting feasibility studies, developing business plans, providing leadership and operational improvement training, and facilitating strategic planning.
“As an example, through RCDG funding, Mission West assisted the Ronan Cooperative Brewery in successfully opening as Montana’s first cooperative brewery in 2020, contributing to the revitalization of Ronan’s rural Main Street,” added Thornley. “And, earlier this year, Mission West continued to assist the co-op brewery after its opening by providing technical assistance to expand its digital marketing presence to increase sales.”
The Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) works with new and existing cooperatives and other groups to evaluate cooperative business models and strategies to meet their objectives.
“Montana Cooperative Development Center has proudly received RCDG funding for several years,” stated Montana Cooperative Development Center’s Executive Director, Tracy McIntyre. “Our work across Montana shows the vastness of how cooperatives can address community and economic needs. We are working on developing cooperatives to address critical issues facing our state, including (but not limited to) childcare, housing, food and meat processing, food distribution, and workforce conversions to employee ownership.”
MCDC is the only statewide resource for cooperative development. With financial assistance from state and federal sources, including previous USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grants, MCDC is able to offer services at little or no cost to project groups across the state.
“MCDC also works with all existing cooperatives and supports the work of the Montana Telecommunication Association and telecommunication cooperatives on broadband adoption and deployment. And, through the Socially Disadvantaged Group Grant, which is another USDA Rural Development program, MCDC is providing technical assistance to our Indigenous communities,” McIntyre added.
To learn more about business investment resources for Montana’s rural areas, contact Montana’s Business and Cooperative Programs Director, Lad Barney, at (406) 309-3350 or [email protected].
Additional information on the required materials and how to apply for the RCDG program are available on page 19842 of the April 6, 2022, Federal Register.
If you would like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
New Emergency Livestock Relief benefits to be delivered through two-phased approach; compensation for 2021 forage losses
WASHINGTON, March 31, 2022 – The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that ranchers who have approved applications through the 2021 Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for forage losses due to severe drought or wildfire in 2021 will soon begin receiving emergency relief payments for increases in supplemental feed costs in 2021 through the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) new Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP).
“Producers of grazing livestock experienced catastrophic losses of available forage as well as higher costs for supplemental feed in 2021. Unfortunately, the conditions driving these losses have not improved for many and have even worsened for some, as drought spreads across the U.S.,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “In order to deliver much-needed assistance as efficiently as possible, phase one of the ELRP will use certain data from the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), allowing USDA to distribute payments within days to livestock producers.”
On September 30, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act (P.L. 117-43). This Act includes $10 billion in assistance to agricultural producers impacted by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms and other eligible disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021. Additionally, the Act specifically targets $750 million to provide assistance to livestock producers for losses incurred due to drought or wildfires in calendar year 2021. ELRP is part of FSA’s implementation of the Act.
For impacted ranchers, USDA will leverage LFP data to deliver immediate relief for increases in supplemental feed costs in 2021. LFP is an important tool that provides up to 60% of the estimated replacement feed cost when an eligible drought adversely impacts grazing lands or 50% of the monthly feed cost for the number of days the producer is prohibited from grazing the managed rangeland because of a qualifying wildfire.
FSA received more than 100,000 applications totaling nearly $670 million in payments to livestock producers under LFP for the 2021 program year.
Congress recognized requests for assistance beyond this existing program and provided specific funding for disaster-impacted livestock producers in 2021.
ELRP Eligibility – Phase One
To be eligible for an ELRP payment under phase one of program delivery, livestock producers must have suffered grazing losses in a county rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having a D2 (severe drought) for eight consecutive weeks or a D3 (extreme drought) or higher level of drought intensity during the 2021 calendar year, and have applied and been approved for 2021 LFP. Additionally, producers whose permitted grazing on federally managed lands was disallowed due to wildfire are also eligible for ELRP payments, if they applied and were approved for 2021 LFP.
As part of FSA’s efforts to streamline and simplify the delivery of ELRP phase one benefits, producers are not required to submit an application for payment; however, they must have the following forms on file with FSA within a subsequently announced deadline as determined by the Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs:
ELRP Payment Calculation – Phase One
To further expedite payments to eligible livestock producers, determine eligibility, and calculate an ELRP phase one payment, FSA will utilize livestock inventories and drought-affected forage acreage or restricted animal units and grazing days due to wildfire already reported by the producer when they submitted a 2021 CCC-853, Livestock Forage Disaster Program Application form.
Phase one ELRP payments will be equal to the eligible livestock producer’s gross 2021 LFP calculated payment multiplied by a payment percentage, to reach a reasonable approximation of increased supplemental feed costs for eligible livestock producers in 2021.
The ELRP payment percentage will be 90% for historically underserved producers, including beginning, limited resource, and veteran farmers and ranchers, and 75% for all other producers. These payments will be subject to a payment limitation.
To qualify for the higher payment percentage, eligible producers must have a CCC-860, Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification, form on file with FSA for the 2021 program year.
Payments to eligible producers through phase one of ELRP are estimated to total more than $577 million.
ELRP – Phase Two
Today’s announcement is only Phase One of relief for livestock producers. FSA continues to evaluate and identify impacts of 2021 drought and wildfire on livestock producers to ensure equitable and inclusive distribution of much-needed emergency relief program benefits.
Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Assistance for Crop Producers
FSA is developing a two-phased process to provide assistance to diversified, row crop and specialty crop operations that were impacted by an eligible natural disaster event in calendar years 2020 or 2021.
This program will provide assistance to crop producers and will follow a two-phased process similar to that of the livestock assistance with implementation of the first phase in the coming weeks. Phase one of the crop assistance program delivery will leverage existing Federal Crop Insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program data as the basis for calculating initial payments.
Making the initial payments using existing safety net and risk management data will both speed implementation and further encourage participation in these permanent programs, including the Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Rainfall Index Crop Insurance Program, as Congress intended.
The second phase of the crop program will be intended to fill additional assistance gaps and cover eligible producers who did not participate in existing risk management programs.
Through proactive communication and outreach, USDA will keep producers and stakeholders informed as ERP implementation details are made available.
Additional Livestock Drought Assistance
Due to the persistent drought conditions in the Great Plains and West, FSA will be offering additional relief through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) to help ranchers cover above normal costs of hauling livestock to forage. This policy enhancement complements previously announced ELAP compensation for hauling feed to livestock. Soon after FSA announced the assistance for hauling feed to livestock, stakeholders were quick to point out that producers also were hauling the livestock to the feed source as well and encouraged this additional flexibility.
It is important to note that, unlike ELRP emergency relief benefits which are only applicable for eligible losses incurred in the 2021 calendar year, this ELAP livestock and feed hauling compensation will not only be retroactive for 2021 but will also be available for losses in 2022 and subsequent years.
To calculate ELAP program benefits, an online tool is currently available to help producers document and estimate payments to cover feed transportation cost increases caused by drought and will soon be updated to assist producers with calculations associated with drought related costs incurred for hauling livestock to forage
Additional USDA disaster assistance information can be found on farmers.gov, including USDA resources specifically for producer impacted by drought and wildfire and the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool. For FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
WASHINGTON, May 4, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has updated three key crop insurance options for livestock producers: the Dairy Revenue Protection (DRP), Livestock Gross Margin (LGM), and Livestock Risk Protection (LRP). USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) revised the insurance options to reach more producers, offer greater flexibility for protecting their operations, and ultimately, better meet the needs of the country’s swine, dairy, and cattle producers. The updates were published last week for the 2023 crop year, which begins July 1, 2022.
“Great and sound customer service is the most important thing we can provide our nation’s producers, making sure the programs and products we offer give them the most useful tools for covering their risks,” said RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger. “Agriculture is not a static industry, and these updates reflect the importance we place on always knowing the evolving needs of producers and offering the most people the best risk management tools we can.”
DRP is designed to insure against unexpected declines in the quarterly revenue from milk sales relative to a guaranteed coverage level; LGM protects against the loss of gross margin (or livestock’s market value minus feed costs); and LRP provides protection against price declines.
Producers will now have more flexibility for DRP, LGM, and LRP, when indemnities are used to pay premiums, which can help producers manage their operation’s cash flow. With these updates, producers can now have both LGM and LRP policies, although they cannot insure the same class of livestock for the same time period or have the same livestock insured under multiple policies.
Additional updates by insurance option include:
Dairy Revenue Protection
Livestock Gross Margin
Livestock Risk Protection
oFed Cattle: 12,000 head per endorsement and 25,000 head per crop year
oFeeder Cattle: 12,000 head per endorsement and 25,000 head per crop year
oSwine: 70,000 head per endorsement and 750,000 head per crop year
Learn more on RMA’s Livestock Insurance Plans webpage. Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator.
These improvements to livestock insurance options build on other efforts by USDA to improve programs for livestock producers. Recently, USDA expanded the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish to cover transportation costs of livestock to feed as well as feed to livestock. And USDA expanded Dairy Margin Coverage to enable dairy producers to enroll supplemental coverage.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.
DENVER, May 11, 2022 – Farmers and ranchers raising calves now have access to the free Calf Care and Quality Assurance (CCQA) program online at www.calfcareqa.org. CCQA promotes a way of thinking that prompts calf raisers to approach management decisions with thoughtfulness and an appreciation for the responsibility they have to their animals, consumers, the environment and the broader cattle industry in the United States.
“Healthy calves are the cornerstone of every beef, dairy and veal facility,” said Trey Patterson, Wyoming rancher and chair of the Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Group. “Committing to calf health management is the right thing to do for calves, producers and consumers, and completing CCQA’s online modules is an easy way to demonstrate that commitment.”
The program was developed with an understanding of the diversity of calf-raising enterprises, being science and outcomes based while maintaining facility type and size neutrality. While the practices identified in the animal care reference manual are not the only practices that can meet the desired outcomes, the program provides a framework that serves as a resource for anyone working in the calf-raising industry. In addition to the manual, online modules and self-assessment tools, CCQA will release an audit tool later this year. Completion of the CCQA online modules provides certification equivalent to Beef Quality Assurance certification.
Certification through CCQA helps ensure optimal calf health and welfare and is the first, collaborative educational tool that provides guidelines for calf raisers. The CCQA program is a joint initiative led by NCBA’s Beef Checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program and the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program, managed by the National Milk Producer’s Federation (NMPF) with support from the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association, and the Beef Checkoff-funded Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) program.
“Certification programs such as CCQA establish guidelines and standards that help earn the public’s trust, demonstrating that beef and dairy producers share their values and are committed not only to quality animal care, but also to ensuring safe, wholesome meat and milk,” said Patterson.
For more information, visit www.calfcareqa.org.
Question: What is the Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Program?
Answer: The CIS program allows selected “state inspected” establishments to ship their selected products across state lines. This program is voluntary.
Question: Who can apply for CIS?
Answer: Any licensed establishment who has had a state Grant of Inspection for at least 90 days and has no more than 25 employees. The establishment needs a satisfactory Food Safety Assessment on record with no outstanding issues and the ability to take measures to completely separate CIS inspected products from all other activities with the establishment.
Question: Who may not apply for CIS?
Answer: Any establishment under USDA Grant of inspection. Any state inspected facility with over 25 employees.
Question: I currently have a custom processing plant. Can I join CIS?
Answer: Yes, however, you will need to maintain a state grant of inspection for 90 days before applying to enter the CIS program.
Question: I am an eligible plant owner, what should I do first?
Answer: Refer to FSIS Directive 5740.1 which describes the CIS process.
Question: What regulations should I review before requesting the on-site visit?
Answer: FSIS Directive 5740.1: Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program
9 CFR Part 313: Humane Handling of Livestock
9 CFR part 416: Sanitation
9 CFR Part 417: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points
9 CFR Part 500: Rules of Practice
*For plants with poultry* 9 CFR Part 381: Poultry Products Inspection Regulations
Question: What will the process involve?
Answer: The basics will include:
Question: Once I am in the CIS program, where can I ship my products?
Answer: Anywhere within the United States.
Question: Who will be my inspector if I enter this program?
Answer: A state of Montana Department of Livestock inspector will still be the regular inspector. A federal inspector will conduct less frequent, unscheduled inspections as well.
Question: Who can I contact if I have additional questions?
Answer: Interested facilities should contact the Department of Livestock at 406-444-5202 or [email protected].
Additional information regarding the CIS Program can be found at:
The Gallatin Beef Producers Association will award scholarship funds to one or more qualified students attending Montana State University for the 2023/2024 academic year in the amount of $1,000.
Application Deadline: June 1st, 2023
The selection criteria will be as follows:
Candidate must be a full-time student, majoring in an Agriculture- related field at Montana State University in the 2023/2024 academic year.
Priority is given to students whose relative currently is or has been a member of the Gallatin Beef Producers Association
First preference will be given to student(s) who graduated from a high school in Gallatin County, MT.
Second preference will be given to student(s) from other southwest Montana counties (Park, Madison, Jefferson, Broadwater, Meagher, or Beaverhead).
Student(s) are eligible to receive a scholarship multiple years but must reapply each year.
The scholarship recipient(s) will be decided annually by the Gallatin Beef Producers Scholarship Committee. Applications may be submitted either hardcopy or electronically to the email address listed on the application form. Scholarship funds will be disbursed directly to Montana State University by the Gallatin Beef Producers. Checks will be issued to the university after the student recipient has provided proof of fall semester registration to the Scholarship Coordinator.
MSGA is committed to keeping its members up-to-date on drought related information and resources. As our members work to find solutions during this challenging time, resources and information will be posted on this information hub as they become available.
MSGA encourages its members to engage in the public comment process and has developed the Take Action page as an opportunity for you to be involved in the decision-making process happening within federal and state agencies.
White papers, or position papers, outline MSGA’s position on a variety of issues impacting Montana ranching families. Read to find out where MSGA stands based on membership-led policy.
Keep up with everything happening within MSGA and agriculture industry all in one place!
Accidents disrupt lives and could cost you your business. Learn how to protect your legacy through good safety practices. Safety is no accident!
Members are eligible for a partial premium return on their State Fund Workers’ Compensation Insurance Policy.
Every employer shall establish, implement, and maintain an education based training program that shall at a minimum:
As required by Montana Law, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), the State of Montana, and the United States recently submitted paperwork to the Water Court asking the Court to include the Water Rights Compact that was negotiated and approved by all three parties in a water rights decree. The Compact quantifies the water rights of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes within the State of Montana. When the Montana Legislature established the Compact process in 1979, it directed that all ratified compacts be submitted to the Water Court for inclusion in a decree. As a result, all water compacts in Montana with Indian tribes and federal agencies have or will go through this process.
There are multiple levels of decrees in Montana. A Preliminary decree is a step toward a Final decree. A decree is a Court order adjudicating water uses within a geographical area of Montana. The Water Court has divided the state into a number of adjudication basins for this purpose. The notice that you received was notice of a preliminary decree. Before the Court issues a Final decree, the process progresses through several stages in this order: verification or examination, temporary preliminary decree or preliminary decree, public notice, resolution of individual cases, public hearings, and a final decree.
The DNRC is in charge of the important first step of examination. The rest of the proceedings, and much of the public involvement, occurs at the Water Court.
This notice is a legal document so you should read it closely. It has been sent specifically to you as part of Montana’s statewide stream adjudication because the outcome of this adjudication process may have an impact on your claims to water use. As indicated in the notice, if you wish to lodge an objection to the approval of the Compact by the Water Court, you have 180 days from the date of the notice to submit that objection to the Water Court.
No. You received this notice because state records show you have filed a statement of claim, applied for or received a permit to appropriate water, or own a water reservation in the vicinity of the area in which a water right quantified by the Compact may also exist. Accordingly, the notice was sent to you so that you can decide whether to raise an objection to the decree of the Compact.
The notice directs all questions to the Water Court at toll-free number 800-624-3270; or call our regular office number of (406) 586-4364, which is not toll-free. Or call the Kalispell DNRC Regional Office at (406) 752-2288 or the Missoula DNRC Regional Office at (406) 721-4284.or to the DNRC [contact/address]. You can also find more information at the Montana Water Court website, https://courts.mt.gov/courts/water/Notices-Info/PublicNotices
Yes, if you received the notice you may be entitled to submit an objection if the water rights quantified in the Compact have a negative impact on any interests in water you may have.
The Compact has been negotiated, ratified and executed by CSKT, the State of Montana, and the U.S. As is required for all Compacts in Montana, the water rights quantified by the Compact must be included in a Final Decree by the Water Court.
The CSKT Compact, quantifies the water rights of CSKT, however, as noted above, when the Montana Legislature established the compact process, it directed all ratified compacts to be submitted to the Montana Water Court to be included in a Final Decree.
The CSKT Water Compact, as a negotiated settlement, quantifies the water rights of the Tribes while providing important protections for valid, existing uses of water under state law. In this process the Water Court will consider including the Compact as a whole in a decree, including the protections contained in the Compact for non-Indian water users.
On July 26, Fish, Wildlife and Park’s elk citizens advisory group held their final meeting and finalized 15 recommendations that were presented to the agency for consideration. MSGA members Chuck Rein and Race King served in the working group and were instrumental in providing landowner perspectives during meeting discussions.
In light of elk populations being chronically over objective, new disease concerns, continuing calls for more access, reports of crowded public lands, and more people than ever coming to the state, a group of 12 citizens were selected by FWP to participate in the working group in May. The group was tasked with developing a set of recommendations to address elk management issues and improve relationships among stakeholders and met half days, every other week for roughly two months. The final recommendations include the following:
If you have thoughts, feedback or comments on these recommendations, please share those with the MSGA staff. In the coming months, staff will have a variety of opportunities to work with FWP staff and share member’s feedback.
HELENA – As grizzly bears emerge from their dens across the state the potential for conflicts with farmers, ranchers and other producers is increasing. In the past few years, bears have been spotted in areas where they haven’t been for more than a century, and the possibility of encountering a grizzly exists anywhere in the western part Montana. Black bears are also widely distributed across the state.
Bears are always on the lookout for an easy food source, including unsecured garbage, spilled grain and livestock carcasses, all of which can bring them into proximity of homeowners and agricultural producers.
Grizzly bears are still a federally protected species. Landowners can haze grizzly bears off their property but must do so without harming the bear; this typically means using loud noises and hard-sided vehicles. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service guidelines for hazing grizzly bears can be found here. Producers can reduce the risk of depredation by installing electric fencing around small calving pastures, pens and corrals. Be cautious around brushy cover including shelterbelts and creeks that bears may use as travel routes or resting areas. Additionally, putting salt, mineral and creep feeders out in the open, away from brush and water, can help deter bears.
Removing or putting electric fences around bone piles can prevent bears from receiving food rewards and being drawn in near homes and herds. In several areas around the state, local efforts have implemented the removal of livestock carcasses to avoid attracting bears near livestock operations. For more information about carcass collection efforts that might be in your area, please contact the nearest FWP specialist. You can find a list of specialists here.
In and around towns, attractants can include other things such as pet food, garbage, barbecue grills and bird feeders. Homeowners should secure these sorts of items to prevent attracting wandering bears.
FWP specialists work diligently to help landowners, homeowners and communities avoid bear conflicts. To report a grizzly bear sighting or conflict, or for assistance securing attractants, contact the FWP bear specialist nearest to you. For livestock conflicts, contact USDA Wildlife Services.
Given grizzly bears are a federally protected species, conflict response is primarily conducted by FWP, tribal fish and wildlife agencies, and USDA Wildlife Services under the authority of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. It is illegal to harm, harass or kill grizzly bears, except in cases of self-defense or the defense of others.
Landowners can take measures to prevent bears from being drawn near homes and livestock. Here are some general tips to help prevent bears causing problems in agricultural areas:
You can find more information on living and working in bear country, here.
Livestock producers have recently reported fraudulent attempts to take over their digital properties, such as Google Business.
To help beef farmers and ranchers protect their digital assets, such as Google Business, Yelp, social media and others, they should be sure to claim the accounts associated with their businesses. Resources include:
As always, farm and ranch security is paramount. In this case, it is best to ensure that ranchers are equipped with tools to claim their digital presence.
The Ranchers’ Voice presented by Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) is a place for conversations surrounding policy, and issues that matter most to ranching families in Montana.
From the Capitol to the countryside, we’ll be the connection point between local ranchers and legislative decision makers, cattle producers and general consumers, and between all cattle ranchers across Montana.
Find the event page at https://www.montana.edu/regecon/events_outreach/cattlemarkets/index.html
Presented by Boehringer Ingelheim & Montana Stockgrowers Association
Join us as we explore the relevance of the cow calf producer and his relationship with the consumer as we operate in the 21st Century.
Our goal is to investigate the knowledge that retail has to understand the desires of our consumer today. As we look forward to new marketing strategies and how to strengthen the current strategies the consumer can offer a great deal of insight into the direction that our products are being pulled.
We hope to give producers ideas and thoughts to consider as they continue to develop their marketing plans in the future. Today the beef industry has strong demand and is very resilient, therefore we as producers need to see that and continue to evolve as leaders in this industry.
Initiative 191 would subject stretches of the Madison & Gallatin Rivers, and their tributaries, to the same strict regulations currently only found in national parks and wilderness areas. The effect would be to shut down many currently-allowed activities, including diversions for irrigation and stock water. If successful, I-191 would set a precedent that could be used to shut down agricultural activities near other water bodies.
Hosted by Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Montana Grain Growers Association, and The Association of Gallatin Agricultural Irrigators.
Paid for by No on I-191. Walt Sales Treasurer. PO Box 5391, Helena, MT 59604