HELENA – Gov. Steve Bullock has declared a drought emergency in 19 counties in eastern Montana and two Native American reservations.
The governor’s office said in a statement Friday that those areas have seen record low precipitation, high temperatures and excessive wind over the last two months.
Bullock says farmers and ranchers are feeling the effects after a winter of below-average rain and snow.
Oats, wheat, peas, sugar beets and other crops have suffered. Pasture and range conditions are poor and dust has made it difficult for ranchers to keep track of cattle.
The governor is also requesting that federal officials make agricultural producers eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture emergency livestock and conservation assistance programs.
The federal agency authorized emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program lands in Montana earlier Friday.