Our View: Senators standing up for farmers and ranchers

by Williston Herald Editorial board

Earlier this week, the Agriculture Appropriations and the Appropriations committees in the U.S. Senate approved language that will keep the USDA-Agricultural Research Service center in Miles City, Montana, open, a major statement of support for farmers and ranchers.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year had the Miles City center and 16 others slated to close. That was in addition to stripping much other funding away from agricultural research.

We have written before about the folly of this approach.

All of the members of the Congressional delegation in both Montana and North Dakota have been vocal in their support for agricultural research, and have vowed to fight for it. This was the opportunity for many of them, and they rose to the challenge.

Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., are all members of one of the two committees. Each of them voted for the language, and each released statements in support of continued funding for agricultural research.

The bill also ensures that county Farm Service Agency offices will remain open, and offers the FSA more funding.

At a time when commodity prices are at historic lows and the region is dealing with an extreme drought, research is more important than ever. Finding innovative solutions to common farming problems is imperative, and research is how those solutions will be found.

Our state is fortunate to have senators on the committees in question, and we are glad that Daines, Hoeven and Tester voted to support their constituents.

We hope the language included in the bill sends a message to the Trump administration that rural communities, farmers and ranchers should not shoulder more than their fair share of the burden of trimming the nation’s budget.