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Letter

Portions of Central America have had drought since 2014, for five years. Climate change is undoubtedly a factor, as similar predicted changes are happening globally.

Recently, Scientific America published that 256,000 farm families lost their crop again this year in Guatemala due to drought. Guatemala is one-third of Montana’s size, but with 17 times the population, 48% being rural and 60% indigenous. The average "normal" rainfall is quite variable, from 32 to 108 inches per year. The areas of lower rainfall are increasing in the country.

Montana has variable precipitation averages of 10 to 80 inches per year. We have had droughts in the past, notably for three years from 1988 to 1990. The drought aggravated economic factors on the farms and ranches of Montana. There were failing farms and ranches in those years, resulting in migration.

Much earlier, in the 1930s, a six-year drought resulted in over 1 million climate refugees from the lower Midwest to migrate. These "Okies" were displaced farmers.

Montana is 65% rural with 28,000 farms and agriculture is an important economic and cultural factor in the state. We all must realize that climate-related forced migration from failing farms is not only a third-world problem.

Erwin Curry,

Missoula

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