Agriculture is Montana’s largest industry, and that makes the state’s economy especially vulnerable to climate change.

Montana crop

Chris Christiaens is a lobbyist for the Montana Farmers Union and a former state senator. He says climate change poses many problems for farmers and ranchers, such as droughts and forest fires.

CHRISTIAENS: “Some of our producers have been naysayers when it comes to climate change. However, if you ask them if their farming practices are the same today as they were six years ago, every one of them will tell you, ‘no, we now are planting different types of crops.’”

Chris Christiaens
Chris Christiaens

Diversifying crops is one of the proactive steps the Union is encouraging farmers to take. Adding peas and lentils to the usual mix of wheat and barley could help farmers turn a profit in drier seasons.

But while farmers in the state adapt, finding a solution to Montana’s woes also means getting at the root cause of global warming, such as switching to clean energy sources like wind and solar.

”Montana Click To Tweet

CHRISTIAENS: “Are we moving toward some of those things? Yes, but probably not as fast as some other states have.”

In the meantime, it will likely get hotter – and drier – in big sky country.

Reporting credit: Andrew Lapin/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Crop photo: Copyright protected.

More Resources
Montana Farmers Learn Ways to Adapt to Climate Change
Montana Farmers Union

Avatar photo

Bud Ward

Bud Ward was editor of Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as assistant director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission...