Tester hosts ag workshop in Great Falls


by Tara Grimes

U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) stopped in Great Falls to host a small business opportunity workshop on Monday; this time the focus was on agriculture.

Farmers, ranchers and other ag professionals met to discuss marketing strategies, financial management, challenges, and risks.

Tester is often touted as the only active farmer in the Senate.

He says he'd like to take ideas gathered today back to D.C, especially as work continues on the 2012 farm bill.

Tester noted, "It's critically important we have a good safety net for our people in production agriculture for a couple of reasons. Not only to make sure family farm units and production agriculture can survive and thrive, but also for food security in this country."

Farm Service Agency Administration officials say the bill could be up for a hearing on Wednesday.

Agriculture Committee leaders say they're pushing to have the five year bill done by September.

Tester says if the bill is not done this year, the deadline would be extended, possibly resulting in deeper cuts.