Ranchers lost more than 37,000 cattle in Montana during the 2018 winter.
The Billings Gazette reported Sunday that the federal Livestock Indemnity Program paid out $11.1 million for the loss of more than 37,000 cattle in Montana last year.
Gilles Stockton, a rancher from Grassrange, says ranchers can’t predict all the challenges winter will bring.
“You calculated enough hay to get through to April, and you used up all that hay by the middle of February, right?" Stockton said. "So you’ve got to go find some hay somewhere and you’ve got to pay a premium price for it. And then trucks that are bringing it to you can’t even get into your road because it’s blown over."
The U.S. Farm Service Agency says it paid out more than four times as much last year as for all losses since 2014 combined.
More weather-related livestock deaths did not qualify for compensation and losses for this past winter have not been calculated yet.