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Disaster Relief for MT May Soon be Quenched

May 14, 2007

A change in the weather may be on the way when it comes to the political climate and disaster relief for Montana farmers and ranchers. The U.S. House has approved a veto-proof bill to get money to producers with weather-related losses dating back to 2005. Alan Merrill with the Montana Farmers Union says if the Senate also approves, the money may arrive just in time to save many family operations.

“We went through four or five years of drought. You need to have some kind of a help out there or some of these farmers and ranchers are not going to make it.”

Merrill emphasizes that this is the time of year Montana farmers and ranchers are headed to the bank to see if they can get an operating loan for this year, and disaster relief may make the difference in getting the credit they need.

“They have no money, no grain in the bin, or anything else. And they're just going to the bank, and the bank might say, 'Well, we might not carry you on for another year.'”

A previous disaster relief package got the presidential veto stamp because it was connected to the Iraq war bill.

Deborah Smith/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - MT