Montana Department of Agriculture logo

Fire & Drought Assistance Hotline

Monday-Friday, 8 am–5 pm
The hotline is not an emergency number. If you are in an emergency please call 911.

As drought conditions worsen and fires burn throughout the state, the Montana Department of Agriculture has launched the Agriculture Fire and Drought Assistance Hotline. The hotline will serve as a tool to help connect those affected to available resources, programs and donations, as well as to provide information on how others can help. Questions related to hay/feed donations, livestock, fencing, and transportation can be directed to the hotline. The hotline number is 1-844-515-1571, and the line will be staffed 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"Montana's agriculture industry has been disproportionately impacted by disasters this year, both drought and fire," said MDA Director Ben Thomas. "There’s currently a major need for resources and there's been an overwhelming swell of support from folks across the state and throughout the country. We saw a need to get information out about resources available and ways to help connect people to those resources."


Montana Producers Eligible for Hay Lottery

Producers in Montana affected by drought and fire are now eligible to participate in the first ever hay lottery. Ag Community Relief, is organizing a large-scale hay donation convoy to North Dakota to aid producers in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. The first convoy of hay will be delivered in mid-August but more deliveries could arrive as the group continues to fundraise and seek donations and volunteers. The donated hay will be delivered to North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo, N.D. Any other individuals or organizations willing to donate hay or trucking for the hay lottery should call the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Drought Hotline at 701-425-8454.

"Donations have been pouring in from throughout Montana to help folks affected by both drought and fire. These people are the unsung heroes of the disaster response and a reminder of how the worst of times can bring out the best in people," said MDA Director Ben Thomas. "We are proud and grateful to join with Ag Community Relief and our friends in North and South Dakota to get more resources to those affected."

Livestock producers interested in applying for the hay lottery must submit an application at Each state has its own lottery, although North Dakota will administer the applications. Eligible producers must be from a D2, D3 or D4 or fire-affected county and own at least 25 animal unit equivalents of state-specific livestock. Eligible livestock and a description of animal unit equivalents may be found directly on each state’s application. The latest drought monitor depicting the drought levels of specific counties may be found at

The application deadline is August 31, 2017.

The hay will be distributed in semi-load lots with the first drawing in early September. If additional donations are taken in after that date, more drawings will occur. Drawings will occur in two age categories: ages 35 and under, and ages 36 and above. Producers that are selected will be responsible for arranging hay transportation from the NDSU site.

Questions about filling out the hay lottery application may be directed to 701-328-4764.


Hay Haulers Needed for Donated Hay

Hay donations throughout the state and country have continued to pour in as producers assess damage and recover from the fire and drought conditions in Eastern Montana. Now, hay haulers are needed to help get these donations to Eastern Montana. There is currently a significant need to haul donated hay from Western Montana.

If you or someone you know can haul hay to Eastern Montana, please call the Montana Agriculture Fire & Drought Assistance Hotline at

The Department will help coordinate efforts with the affected parties.
The hotline is not an emergency number, if you are in an emergency please call 911.


Federal Assistance

NRCS is accepting applications for its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to assist with livestock grazing deferment, damaged fence and post removal, livestock fencing, water facility development, critical area plantings, and cover crops. NRCS accepts conservation program applications year-round; however, applications for 2017 wildfire recovery funding must be submitted by Aug. 15, 2017.

Landowners should visit their local NRCS office to apply for EQIP. A list of local offices can be found here.


Transportation Regulation Waivers

  • The Montana Department of Transportation has waived the following interstate requirements:
    • Waived temporary registration for out of state trucks hauling hay into MT
    • Waived temporary fuel permit
    • Waived over-dimension permit requirement
    • Suspended "hours of service" regulations as they apply to drivers of commercial vehicles while transporting livestock, forage, water and agricultural implements
    • Note* A carrier cannot require or allow fatigued drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle
  • MDT is also replacing fence bordering highways in fire impacted areas on an as-needed basis.



  • The US Fish and Wildlife Service has opened the CMR Wildlife Refuge to grazing. For more information, contact Dusty Olsen, (406) 557-2740 (extension 100).
  • For information on state-owned lands OR to request lands be opened to grazing, please contact DNRC at (406) 444-4289.


Livestock Transportation

  • The Governor has directed the Montana Department of Livestock to suspend:
    • the brand inspection permit fee requirement in MCA 81-3-205;
    • the brand inspection permit fee requirement in MCA 81-3-211(7);
    • the brand inspection permit requirement prior to removal in MCA 81-3-211(2), but requiring a transportation permit prior to removal and a brand inspection at the point of destination.
  • The Governor further directs the Montana Department of Livestock that transportation permits may be issued by telephone when necessary to cope with the declared emergency.
  • For more information, please contact the Department of Livestock at (406) 444-2976.


Tax Relief

  • A property or landowner whose home, outbuildings, or forest land are partially or totally destroyed by the natural disaster, making the property unsuitable for pervious use, may be eligible for property tax assistance. Businesses whose equipment was destroyed may also qualify.
  • For more information, property owners can contact their local Department of Revenue office or the call center at (406) 444-6900.


Donation Coordination


Programs and resources to assist agricultural producers and others affected by the 2017 severe wildfires and drought in Montana are listed below. If you would like to suggest additional links or other information to add to this page, please use the Contact Form.


Links: Assistance

Links: Drought Information

Links: Fire Information


Fire & Drought Assistance 2017 Forms & Files

    This folder is empty