Last week, I spent the day working on a farm in Fort Benton. The view from the combine reminded me of what I learned growing up on the ranch: farmers and ranchers must take on an incredible amount of risk. (Read more in the Great Falls Tribune HERE)
Between the weather and prices, farmers and agriculture-related businesses have enough unpredictability thrown at them every day without Congress adding uncertainty. They deserve a 5-year Farm Bill they can count on to make business decisions for themselves and their kids and grandkids.
Our Farm Bill goals should look the same whether we're sitting in a combine or a Congressional Hearing Room. But, too often priorities get lost in the 2,000 miles between the Capital Building and the field.
I'm determined to take the stories I heard from Montanans last week with me as I head into final negotiations on the Farm Bill this week. As one of 12 Senators appointed to the joint Farm Bill conference committee, it's critical that folks back there know 1-in-5 Montana jobs rely on agriculture.
From Fort Benton, we took the conversation to Lewistown and to the Public Auction Yard Café in Billings. (Listen to the conversation on KXLO radio HERE and read more in the Lewistown News-Argus HERE)
And, we discussed the policy in Bozeman with some of the top minds in agricultural research and economics. (Read coverage from the Billings Gazette HERE)
I heard the same message everywhere: folks expect Congress to work together to focus on jobs.The Farm Bill is Montana's jobs bill, and I've got my marching orders. I've written 6 Farm Bills since I started serving Montana. It's my top priority to make sure that when I leave office, Montana farmers and ranchers have a strong 5-year Farm Bill they can count on.
If you've got ideas on how to make the Farm Bill even stronger for Montana, drop me a line or call. Together, we can make sure that what leaves a conference room in DC is as strong as possible for folks who run the combine back home. I can't do it without you.Well, Sen. Baucus: get the Forest Service out of the Dept. of Agriculture, protect old growth and give tribes more forest and range land management roles. End funding for Wildlife Services. If crop insurance is to be subsidized tie benefits to conservation and environmental protection. Subsidized dairies should be prohibited from using Bovine Growth Hormone and antibiotics, have many conversations with Senator Tester about labeling engineered food and listen to his ideas. Add cannabis legalization to a farm bill. Engage with the environmental community in crafting a farm/food bill and just say no to the Republican Party, let it die then leave its entrails for scavengers in the Greater Missouri Basin National Wildlife Refuge.
Max: we wanted a single-payer patient protection act and got Republican health care instead; but, yes: this interested party will entertain ideas moving SNAP into the Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Talk more about marriage equality, tribal sovereignty and education then accept my thanks for your service.