Wildfires are hurting some Montana agricultural producers, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture says it can provide technical and financial assistance to help them.

Wildfires burning in California, Oregon and Washington have brought huge amounts of smoke to surrounding states, including Montana, and wildfires in Montana contribute to the problem, according to published reports.

Depending on the ag operation, the Farm Service Agency (an arm of USDA) offers a number of disaster assistance programs to help offset eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, Emergency Conservation Program, Emergency Forest Restoration Program, Livestock Forage Disaster Program, Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and Tree Assistance Program.

Additionally, producers located in counties with a primary or contiguous disaster designation may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses.

Producers with federal crop insurance coverage should contact their crop insurance agent for assistance. Producers should report crop damage to their agent within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

USDA encourages farmers and livestock producers to contact the their Farm Service Agency county office at the local USDA Service Center to learn which documents should be provided to help the local office expedite assistance, such as farm records, receipts and pictures of damages or losses.

More information is available at the online Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool.