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MT Farmers and Ranchers Sign Action Note on Climate Change

January 14, 2014

FORSYTH, Mont. - A third-generation farming family in southeastern Montana has added their names to a letter to the U.S. Senate, asking for action to curb the effects of climate change. According to signer Jean Dahlman, who farms near Forsyth, her support for action, such as emissions standards for existing power plants, is strong in light of what her family has seen on the front lines of a changing climate in Montana.

"There've been huge fluctuations," she attested. "We can't count on general storm patterns anymore. The satellites show patchiness and there are huge temperature swings, which are wild."

The Center for Rural Affairs offered the letter. About a dozen Montana farmers, ranchers and small-business owners have signed. Hundreds have signed nationwide.

Dahlman added that if she had written the letter herself, it would have been more strongly worded. She noted that small towns are struggling to survive, yet would flourish if renewable energy development were the focus.

"I would have said the outlook is very grim, not only for us who farm and ranch in southeastern Montana and the communities that we live in, but for everybody on the planet," she declared. "We are not doing the things we need to do."

A poll done by the Small Business Majority found that six in 10 small-business owners believe that climate change and extreme weather events hurt the economy.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT