Tester Holds First Farm Bill Listening Session in Billings
Event Kicks-Off a Series of Barnstormin Farm Bill Listening Sessions Across the State
(Billings, Mont.)-Senator Jon Tester today kicked off his Barnstormin' Farm Bill Listening Tour today with an event in Billings.
Farmers and ranchers from across Montana attended Tester's listening session that focused primarily on livestock, pulse, and grain production.
"Agriculture is still the backbone of Montana's economy, and it is critical that Montana farmers and ranchers have a say in the next Farm Bill," Tester said. "We need to construct a Farm Bill that works for folks on the ground and strengthens family production agriculture. I look forward to hosting more listening sessions across the state in the coming weeks."
Production agriculture remains Montana's number one industry and is responsible for over $4 billion in economic development annually.
Representatives from Montana's largest agriculture advocacy organizations praised Tester's willingness to receive input from a wide variety of the state's producers.
"We thank Senator Tester for spearheading this event and bringing us all together to begin work on the Farm Bill," said Bill Bullard, CEO of R Calf USA. "We have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility as producers in crafting the next Farm bill and look forward to working together to ensure it works for Montanans."
"The Montana Grain Growers Association wants to thank Senator Tester for hosting these Farm Bill listening sessions," said Michelle Erickson-Jones, Treasurer of the Montana Grain Growers Association. "It is very important to our organization, and all of Montana's producers, to have their voice be heard and taken back to Washington to be included in the next Farm Bill. Having that safety net is vitally important for farmers and Montana's rural economy."
Tester's listening session today was open to the public and was the first in a series of events he will be hosting across the state in the coming weeks and months. The additional listening sessions will focus on other aspects of the Farm Bill, which include conservation and forest management, food safety initiatives, and specialty crops.
Tester is the only active farmer in the U.S. Senate, and he and his wife still farm the land his grandparents homesteaded over a century ago.
In 2014, Tester helped pass a four-year Farm Bill that included robust investments in critical livestock disaster assistance, crop insurance, and the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program.
Beginning next year, Congress will begin holding hearings and constructing a new Farm Bill.
A summary of Tester's efforts for livestock and grain producers is available HERE.