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Government & Politics

USDA Declares Another 15 Montana Counties Natural Disaster Areas Due To Drought

An up close shot of wheat
Candace Fladager
/
Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on July 6 designated 15 Montana counties as natural disaster areas due to severe drought.

In a letter Tuesday, to Montana Governor Greg Gianforte and Idaho Governor Brad Little, USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack declared Hill and Wheatland counties as primary disaster areas and eight neighboring counties and five western Montana counties near Idaho as contiguous disaster areas due to drought.

The USDA has named 31 counties in Montana disaster areas so far this year. Farmers in those areas are eligible for aid from the Farm Service Agency, including emergency loans.

Last week, Gov. Greg Gianforte declared a statewide drought emergency. According to a press release from Gianforte’s office, about 91 percent of the state faced abnormally dry to extreme conditions as of late June.

Gianforte has asked the USDA to declare all of Montana’s 56 counties as primary disaster areas due to the drought.

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