Governor Bullock Introduces Farm Bill to Montana - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Governor Bullock Introduces Farm Bill to Montana

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DEER LODGE -

Governor Steve Bullock stopped by a lumber yard outside of Deer Lodge to announce the start of the Agriculture Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill.

The new Farm Bill allows Governor Bullock to address the health of the state's national forests.

With the bill, the governor will be able to nominate specific areas in Montana for forest restoration work.

"This last Farm Bill, we have the opportunity now to provide designations to the Secretary of Agriculture, asking for landscapes in Montana, areas in Montana, to be priorities for timber management," Governor Bullock said.

The governor may only nominate landscapes deeply affected by insects or disease that are a risk to public infrastructure.

Right now, those proposed landscapes range across the state.

If those landscapes are approved, then a restoration and management process will begin, with some of the wood being sent to local lumber yards.

"It's important to the Forest Service because it can improve the pace of restoration work that we do in our forests," said Fay Krueger, with the U.S. Forest Service. "I think it's important to the state because they too see the need for restoration work on the land."

While the bill allows the affected forest area to be cleaned, it will also help the lumber industry.

Sherm Anderson has 300 employees at Sun Mountain Timber in Deer Lodge.

He says the timber mill will benefit from the new wood coming in.

"We'll do the necessary thinning, the necessary removal of this dead and dying timber," Anderson said. "In doing so, it will give us not only a constant timber supply, but an affordable timber supply."

Governor Bullock says he plans for work begin on the designated areas within the next 90 days.

When restoration projects begin on the designated areas, Governor Bullock says the public will be closely involved.

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