The drought that is devastating the Midwest has also affected farms and ranches here in Montana. Chris Christiaens is a lobbyist and Project Specialist for the Montana Farmers Union. Christiaens says the drought has affected hay producers, which has led to higher cattle feed prices. Many ranchers in Montana and Wyoming have sold off large numbers of cattle to save money on hay. Christiaens says this will bring beef prices down briefly, but will eventually lead to higher prices by the early part of next year.

Christiaens recommends consumers purchase grass-fed beef from a local producer, and have it processed to forestall paying higher prices in the grocery store. He also says to shop at farmer’s markets, joining a community garden and to consider planting a garden at home. Christiaens says hot temperatures have set new records all over the country, and there is little relief in sight.