MTPR

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Truck carrying timber
Bell & Jeff (CC-BY-2.0)

The state and the U.S. Forest Service plan to ramp up a program on Montana’s national forests that uses timber sales with restoration components to fund non-commercial conservation work. The amount of timber currently being cut under the program could grow four times over the next year. The timber industry sees that as a much-needed boon.

Sheep.
iStock

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt canceled a planned visit to Montana this week. Bernhardt had planned to meet with Montana ranchers and farmers about grizzly bear conflicts along the Rocky Mountain Front as part of his visit.

Solar panels financed by a USDA grant on a farm Pennsylvania
USDA

The USDA has more than $400 million to spend supporting energy efficiency and green energy upgrades at farms and rural small businesses.

The Rural Energy for America Program offers grants, loans and loan guarantees for a range of projects, including installation of solar panels, anaerobic digesters and wind turbines.

Huckleberries in Glacier Park.
Glacier National Park (PD)


A new study mapping huckleberries in Glacier National Park could help grizzlies thrive in the area, and figure out how the tasty fruits respond to a changing climate.

Montana Bill Would Distinguish 'Real' From Lab-Grown Meat

Feb 8, 2019
Montana Capitol building.
Nick Mott / MTPR

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A state lawmaker wants to make sure meat products produced from a cultured cell can't be labeled the same as steaks, burger and other items that come from livestock and poultry.

Bill Using Coal Tax Money To Fund Affordable Housing Projects Passes Montana House

Feb 6, 2019
Rep. Dave Fern, D-Whitefish, is carrying House Bill 16 to fund affordable housing. It passed the House on Feb. 6, 2019 and will move to the Senate.
Shaylee Rager / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA -- The Montana House of Representatives advanced a bill Wednesday that would use money from the coal severance tax trust fund to pay for low-income and moderate-income housing projects.

Hay field. File photo.
PD

The U.S Department of Agriculture reopens all of its Farm Service Agency offices starting Thursday, Jan. 24. Nearly 10,000 FSA employees will come back to work, but won’t get paid until after the shutdown ends.

A woman grocery shopping.
iStock

Montana is issuing February’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program payments a couple of weeks early due to the ongoing partial government shutdown.

The state Department of Public Health and Human Services typically issues SNAP benefits to 117,000 recipients during the first week of every month.

A firefighter stands in front of flames from a wildfire. Stock photo.
(PD)

Wildfire training sessions for firefighters in Montana are being called off because of the government shutdown. That has state officials worried about whether they’ll be prepared for next fire season. 

Michael DeGrosky has been scheduled for months to teach a wildfire training course in Missoula next week.

A looming partial U.S. government shutdown at midnight tonight means uncertainty for the more than 13,000 federal workers in Montana.

The federal government is the second largest single employer in Montana, making up about 3 percent of the state’s workforce. Their payroll accounts for about $1.4 billion in personal income here.

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