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16 June 2021
Gov. Gianforte Issues Executive Order Declaring Disaster in Five Eastern Counties

Gov. Gianforte Issues Executive Order Declaring Disaster in Five Eastern Counties

Governor Greg Gianforte issued an executive order declaring a disaster in five Eastern Montana counties: Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Richland, and Roosevelt.

On June 10, 2021, a series of severe thunderstorms – with hail as large as three inches in diameter, recorded wind speeds of 70-90 mph, and winds up to 115 mph – caused damages to over 800 power poles and lines across the East Central portion of Montana.

With the disaster declaration issued, the State of Montana will proceed with requesting federal disaster assistance on behalf of the affected counties and electric cooperatives.

The governor’s executive order may be found here.

01 June 2021
MT Dept. of Agriculture Reminds Producers to Cover Crops with State Hail Insurance

MT Dept. of Agriculture Reminds Producers to Cover Crops with State Hail Insurance

In light of recent moisture, and with severe weather events on the horizon, the Montana State Hail Program is reminding producers to make sure their crops are covered. As spring plantings are wrapping up, staff are ready to assist producers with acquiring state hail insurance.

Producers can insure crops against hail damage at the maximum coverage rate of $75 per acre for dryland and $114 per acre for irrigated land. Rates charged are a percentage of the insured amount and vary by county. A detailed list of rates by county and crop is available on the MDA website. State policies are available for purchase until August 15, 2021.

State hail insurance application forms are available online or by calling the office. Staff are available to accept policies, file claims, and to answer any questions producers might have regarding coverage options. Completed forms can be emailed, mailed, or faxed to the department, or used as a reference when contacting the office by phone. Loss forms must be submitted within two weeks of the hail damage occurrence. Loss claim forms are also available online and are due to the office by October 1, 2021.

Contact Information:

Montana State Hail Insurance Program

P.O. Box 200201

Helena, MT 59620

Phone: (406) 444-5429

Toll Free: 1 (844) 515-1571

 

Email: agrhail@mt.gov

Fax: (406) 444-9442

The Montana State Hail Insurance Program was created at the request of producers in 1917 to provide basic hail insurance coverage on any crop grown in Montana. The program is directed by a five-member board consisting of the department director, state insurance commissioner, and three producers.

26 May 2021
Public Meeting: MT Pulse Crop Committee - June 8, 2021

Public Meeting: MT Pulse Crop Committee - June 8, 2021

The Montana Pulse Crop Committee will meet virtually via Zoom on June 8, 2021 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. A meeting agenda is attached.

A video conference option is available through Zoom. Please contact Dani Jones to request Zoom meeting information.

Click here to view current MT Pulse Crop Committee members and learn more. 

19 May 2021
Montana Farmers Encouraged to Participate in Wheat & Barley Varieties Survey

Montana Farmers Encouraged to Participate in Wheat & Barley Varieties Survey

The Montana Department of Agriculture is reminding producers to participate in the upcoming Wheat and Barley Varieties Survey conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

“This year’s varieties survey will give our breeding program unique and widespread insight into the characteristics that are truly important to Montana farmers,” said Cassidy Marn, Executive Vice President of the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee. “With producer checkoff dollars helping to fund breeding programs, and MSU varieties accounting for a substantial portion of wheat and barley acreage here in Montana, responses to the survey are essential to our continued success.”

The survey is a collaborative project among the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee, Montana State University, and USDA NASS targeting specific data points that will influence future breeding research and varietal selections. USDA NASS will begin contacting Montana farmers by phone at the end of May to collect data for June survey reports, then continue compiling information through mid-July.

With end-use quality driving markets around the world, Montana can maintain a competitive edge by utilizing survey results to guarantee crop quality and improve production. The Wheat and Barley Varieties Survey is one of many initiatives led by the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee to promote research, marketing, and education for the benefit of Montana producers. To learn more about how the committee is putting checkoff dollars to work, visit wbc.agr.mt.gov.

17 May 2021
USDA to Purchase $159 Million Legumes and More for Food Assistance Programs

USDA to Purchase $159 Million Legumes and More for Food Assistance Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced it will purchase up to $159.4 million in domestically produced seafood, fruits, legumes, and nuts for distribution to a variety of domestic food assistance programs, including charitable institutions. These purchases are being made utilizing funds under the authority of Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (Pub. L. 74-320), as amended (Section 32). This is one of many actions USDA is taking to address the disruptions in the food system supply chain and worsened food insecurity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Selected commodities include: Alaska pollock, apricots (canned, dried, and frozen), chickpeas, dry peas, Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic wild-caught shrimp, lentils, navy beans, Pacific pink shrimp, Pacific rockfish fillets, Pacific whiting fillets, pistachios, prepared peaches, and sockeye (red) salmon. The inventories of these commodities are in high oversupply due to a decrease in demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption in the supply chain, as restaurants and other outlets closed during the pandemic. This is the largest purchase of U.S. raised seafood by the USDA to date.

Solicitations will be available electronically through the Web-Based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) system and on the Agricultural Marketing Service's website at www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food. To be eligible to submit offers, potential contractors must meet the AMS vendor qualification requirements and be domestic operations.

14 May 2021
Public Meeting Notice: MT Wheat & Barley Committee

Public Meeting Notice: MT Wheat & Barley Committee

The Montana Wheat & Barley Committee will meet on Wednesday, June 16th beginning at 10:00 a.m.

To receive information to join the virtual meeting, please email wbc@mt.gov or contact the MT Wheat & Barley office at (406) 761-7732.

Click here to visit the MT Wheat & Barley Committee website.

11 May 2021
USDA Soil Health & Income Protection Program (SHIPP) Signup Period is Open for Montana

USDA Soil Health & Income Protection Program (SHIPP) Signup Period is Open for Montana

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that agricultural producers can now sign up for the Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP), which provides a short-term option to plant cover on less productive agricultural lands while improving soil health and carbon sequestration.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made improvements to this pilot program which allows for a maximum of 50,000 acres to be enrolled in the praire pothole states of Montana, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The signup period ends July 16, 2021.

Improvements to SHIPP include:

  • Boosting rental rates: A change to the rental rate calculation method to use a rate equivalent to 50% percent of the county average rental rate for every offer in the county, regardless of the soil productivity in the offer. This removes the current practice of adjusting the rate by soil productivity factors, which may reduce the soil rental rate further.
  • Changes to offer selection for producers: Producers can now self-certify that the acres they want to offer are less productive or prone to drought or flood damage. Additionally, they can now use field boundaries and straight lines to delineate the offers. This is a change to the previous policy, which required using soil map unit boundaries and the associated soil productivity values, which created difficulty for producers by generating unusual and impractical sizes and shapes of land.

Producers interested in SHIPP can learn more at fsa.usda.gov/crp [fsa.usda.gov] or by contacting their local USDA Service Center [farmers.gov]. Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools.

10 May 2021
USDA Announces Garfield County as Primary Natural Disaster Area due to Drought

USDA Announces Garfield County as Primary Natural Disaster Area due to Drought

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Garfield County as a primary natural disaster area due to a recent drought. This announcement comes nearly a week after 13 other Montana counties were declared as primary natural disaster areas due to a recent drought. 

Other MT counties previously named primary disaster areas: Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, McCone, Phillips, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Valley & Wibaux.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, these counties suffered fromm a drought intensity value during the growing season of 1) D2 Drought-Severe for 8 or more consecutive weeks, or 2) D3 Drought-Extreme, or 4) D4 Drought-Exceptional.

Seven additional counties were named as contiguous disaster areas in the announcement for Garfield County: Custer, McCone, Petroleum, Phillips, Prairie, Rosebud & Valley.

Other MT Counties previously named contiguous counties: Blaine, Fergus, Garfield, Petroleum, Powder River & Rosebud.

A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguos to such primary counties eligible for assistance provided through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), including emergency loans. Producers in affected areas are encouraged to work with their local FSA office to receive more information and apply. Click here to view Montana FSA offices map. Click here to visit the USDA Disaster Assisance Programs website.

06 May 2021
Montana Department of Agriculture Reminds Montanans to Sow Safe Seeds

Montana Department of Agriculture Reminds Montanans to Sow Safe Seeds

As people across the state gear up to plant their gardens this spring, the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is reminding growers about the importance of buying and planting seeds from licensed seed dealers to protect against invasive species and plant diseases.

“Spring is such an exciting time for agriculture in Montana, from our farmers and ranchers out in the field to the folks planting gardens in their backyard,” said Director Mike Foster. “Along with this excitement comes a responsibility to look after our state by purchasing seeds from trustworthy sources. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Department to ensure that your seeds are safe before planting them.”

Last year, residents in all 50 states received unsolicited “mystery seeds” through the mail that originated in China causing federal and state agencies to urge recipients not to plant them, and to contact their state regulatory officials to submit them for testing or dispose of them instead. Close to 150 seed packages were received in Montana and sent to USDA’s Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) for testing. A mix of ornamental, fruit and vegetable, herb and weed species were discovered and fortunately determined not to be severely hazardous. In this case, the unsolicited seeds appear to have been sent as part of a brushing scam designed to boost e-commerce rankings for companies by shipping items to unknowing individuals and then creating false profiles and fabricated positive reviews.

Whether it be as part of a brushing scam or otherwise, planting unknown or unsolicited seeds can introduce harmful pests and/or diseases. To ensure your seeds are safe, please:

  • check to confirm the seed species information is printed on the seed package
  • do not plant any seeds of unknown species or origin
  •  verify seed suppliers are licensed in MT at mtplants.mt.gov or call MDA at (406) 444-3144.

The Federal Seed Act and Montana Seed Laws require seed sellers and distributors to plainly label their packages. The MDA Seed Program ensures that seeds offered for sale in Montana are truthfully labeled for identity, purity, and viability. To learn more, visit the Montana Department of Agriculture’s web page at agr.mt.gov/SeedProgram.

05 May 2021
USDA Announces Primary Disaster Designation for 13 Montana Counties due to drought

USDA Announces Primary Disaster Designation for 13 Montana Counties due to drought

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 13 Montana counties as primary natural disaster areas due to a recent drought. 

Primary Counties: Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, McCone, Phillips, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Valley & Wibaux.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, these counties suffered fromm a drought intensity value during the growing season of 1) D2 Drought-Severe for 8 or more consecutive weeks, or 2) D3 Drought-Extreme, or 4) D4 Drought-Exceptional.

Six additional counties were named as contiguous disaster areas. Contiguous Counties: Blaine, Fergus, Garfield, Petroleum, Powder River & Rosebud.

A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguos to such primary counties eligible for assistance provided through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), including emergency loans. Producers in affected areas are encouraged to work with their local FSA office to receive more information and apply. Click here to view Montana FSA offices map. Click here to visit the USDA Disaster Assisance Programs website.

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