Senator Tester hears local input on 2012 Farm Bill


by Paul Humphrey

BILLINGS – Senator Jon Tester was in Billings Monday where he hosted a listening session with area agriculture producers and advocates seeking their input on the 2012 Farm Bill and the recently passed Food Safety Modernization Act.

The Farm Bill, which expires at the end of 2011, is essentially the agricultural policy of the United States government. Senator Tester asked those assembled for input on what works and what needs to be added to the current law.

The conversation focused on broad issues that affect Montana's small producers including competition reform, commodities programs, trade agreements, crop insurance, and genetically engineered crops.

Senator Tester said that gathering information from both producers and consumers over the next year will be crucial for drafting a bill that is good for Montana's family farm agriculture. "It is really important that we hear from the folks who have their hands in the dirt to make sure that when this bill gets drafted we can make sure their opinions are part of the process."

Senator Tester who farms on his family homestead near Big Sandy is the only U.S. Senator actively involved in the agriculture industry.