Belfry hay field

Hay stands ready in a field off Montana Route 72 near Belfry. The All Mosta Ranch in the Flathead Valley has had an unfortunate year trying to find help with hay for its rescue animals this year due to drought. 

KURT WILSON/Missoulian

BISMARCK, N.D. — A hay donation lottery program set up in North Dakota to help drought-stricken ranchers is being expanded to producers in South Dakota and Montana.

The effort was launched last week by North Dakota's Agriculture Department , North Dakota State University and the Michigan-based nonprofit Ag Community Relief. Officials set up a site near the NDSU campus to accept hay donations that will be doled out to needy producers through a lottery process.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring on Tuesday said the lottery will be opened to ranchers throughout the tristate area. The application deadline is Aug. 31.

Ag Community Relief is organizing a large hay donation convoy to North Dakota later this month. The first hay drawing will be in early September. More drawings will be held as donations allow.

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