Although most capital credit checks were successfully issued to members of Flathead Electric Cooperative (FEC) in December, some attempts to locate former members who are owed capital credits were unsuccessful because the Co-op does not have their current address. A full list of unclaimed capital credits is available on the Flathead Electric website.
If you know of a former member who may be on this list because they changed addresses, please have them call FEC at 406-751-4483 or 1-800-735-8489. The Co-op appreciates your assistance in this effort. Remember, because capital credits may not be retired for several years, it’s important that you keep Flathead Electric informed of your current address.
Submitted by Wendy Ostrom Price, Flathead Electric Co-Op
General Signup Begins Today and Ends
Agricultural producers and private landowners interested in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) can sign up for the popular program beginning today, Jan. 4, 2021, until Feb. 12, 2021. The competitive program, administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.
“This signup for the Conservation Reserve Program gives producers and landowners an opportunity to enroll for the first time or continue their participation for another term,” FSA State Director Mike Foster said. “This program encourages conservation on sensitive lands or low-yielding acres, which provides tremendous benefits for stewardship of our natural resources and wildlife.”
Through CRP, farmers and ranchers establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. Farmers and ranchers who participate in CRP help provide numerous benefits to their local region and the nation’s environment and economy. CRP general signup is held annually and is competitive; general signup includes increased opportunities for wildlife habitat enrollment through the State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) initiative.
New cropland offered in the program must have been planted for four out of six crop years from 2012 to 2017. Additionally, producers with land already enrolled but expiring on Sept. 30, 2021, can re-enroll this year. The acreage offered by producers and landowners is evaluated competitively; accepted offers will begin Oct. 1, 2021.
Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States. The program marked its 35-year anniversary in December 2020. Program successes include:
Preventing more than 9 billion tons of soil from eroding, which is enough soil to fill 600 million dump trucks.
Reducing nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to annually tilled cropland by 95% and 85%, respectively.
Sequestering an annual average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases, equal to taking 9 million cars off the road.
Creating more than 3 million acres of restored wetlands while protecting more than 175,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers, which is enough to go around the world seven times.
Benefiting bees and other pollinators and increasing populations of ducks, pheasants, turkey, bobwhite quail, prairie chickens, grasshopper sparrows, and many other birds.
All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including those that restrict in-person visits or require appointments. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are also required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Our program delivery staff will continue to work with our producers by phone, email, and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.
Submitted by USDA Farm Service Agency
U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service to renew $250,000 grant to continue
U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) renewed a $250,000 grant to help reduce grizzly bear and human conflicts in Montana.
“This funding is critical to help reduce grizzly-human conflicts in Montana as we continue working to delist the grizzly bear and return management to the state,” Daines said.
The USFWS grant to the Montana Wildlife Services will include:
Additional support through the Wildlife Services contract to address bear and human conflict.
Leveraging existing Federal programs, such as grants provided under the Pittman-Robertson Act, to restore, conserve, and manage animals and their habitat.
Continually updating and reissuing guidance on actions to avoid bear contact.
Daines brought USFWS Director Aurelia Skip with to Montana in October to meet directly with farmers and ranchers to discuss the importance of grizzly bear management.
In September, Daines testified in a U.S. Senate Committee in support of his bill, the “Grizzly Bear State Management Act”, which would delist the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, return management to the State of Montana and prevent further obstruction in the courts.
In March, Daines announced the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) responded to his requests for better management surrounding grizzly bears and human conflict in Montana. DOI agreed to support Montana with common sense, collaborative methods to help in the management of the grizzly bear.
Submitted by Katie Schoettler, Miles Novak.
Department of Revenue:
Owners Must Report by March 1
The Montana Department of Revenue is reminding all livestock owners that they need to report their livestock to the department by March 1, 2021.
The numbers of livestock owned as of February 1 can be reported online at ReportYourLivestock.mt.gov.
About 16,000 livestock owners who reported last year have already received notification to report.
Livestock per capita fees, set by the Montana Department of Livestock, are due May 31, 2021. All livestock owners may pay these when they report. Otherwise, they will receive their bill in early May.
For more information, visit http://MTRevenue.gov or contact us at (406) 444-6900 or DORCustomerAssistance@mt.gov.
Submitted by Montana Department of Revenue
DLI Begins Paying
The Montana Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) today announced that Montana has begun paying the additional $300 Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefit established through the passage of the federal Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020.
DLI began paying the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Benefit (FPUC) benefit on the morning of Tuesday, January 5, issuing over $3.2 million in FPUC payments. Under the legislation, all eligible claimants will receive the additional $300 per week unemployment payment. FPUC benefit payments are fully federally-funded. The funds are added to the recipient’s state weekly benefit amount. The payment will be available for eligible claims from the UI week ending January 2, 2021, through the week ending March 13, 2021.
Below are the additional major program changes or extensions passed through the Act that Montana is in the process of implementing:
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which provides unemployment benefits to the self-employed and others affected by COVID-19, will remain active until UI week ending March 13, 2021, with final payments on continued claims ending April 10, 2021. Claimants will now have up to 50 weeks of eligibility.
The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program now provides an additional 11 weeks of benefits, for a total of up to 24 weeks, for those who have exhausted their UI claims. Initial claims will be accepted through March 13, 2021, with final payments on continued claims ending April 10, 2021.
DLI is in the process of completing all remaining program changes under the Continued Assistance Act. Department staff are diligently working on finishing this programming as soon as possible. The Department will announce by press release, on dli.mt.gov and social media when all programmatic changes under the new Act are complete. DLI is also routinely sending emails to claimants informing them of program changes.
DLI continues to encourage anyone who believes they may be eligible for UI to file a claim online at MontanaWorks.gov, or at mtpua.mt.gov for those that fall under the PUA eligibility guidelines. Those with technical, eligibility, or benefits questions are encouraged to view the COVID-19 resource website at dli.mt.gov/covid-19. A variety of information for both Montana workers and employers are available, in addition to resources to help claimants navigate the unemployment process.
Submitted by Montana Department of Labor