Tester’s Ag workshop connects Montana farmers, offers new opportunities

Senator also announces plan to protect Montana farm vehicles

(GREAT FALLS, Mont.) – As the Senate works on the new Farm Bill, Montana farmers today explored new strategies for expanding their businesses at Senator Jon Tester’s eleventh Small Business Opportunity Workshop in Great Falls.

Tester’s event focused on helping farmers market their products, successfully manage financial risk, and improve their farming operations.

Tester also announced that he is cosponsoring a bipartisan amendment that allows farm vehicles to cross state lines without facing unnecessary regulations.

Bruce Nelson, head of USDA’s Farm Service Agency and a Fort Benton native, headlined Tester’s workshop, which gave farmers the opportunity to offer feedback to workshop panelists, which included farm lenders, marketing experts, and agriculture officials.

"Senator Tester's Small Business Workshop was an excellent opportunity for small businesses owners to share their thoughts regarding public policy with the people who have the ability to influence that policy," said Carl Mattson, a farmer from Chester.

“One of the most important parts of this event is something you can’t put on the agenda: the people you meet – the connections you make – and the opportunities that arise from networking,” Tester told workshop participants. 

Tester’s farm vehicle amendment helps Montana farmers and ranchers who do business across state lines.  Currently, these producers can be subject to onerous regulations that can result in having their vehicles inspected each trip – even if they are just driving from the field to the barn.  Tester’s amendment removes this rule and other requirements for registered farm vehicles, while also giving states more control of the rulemaking process.

“Montana producers shouldn’t face more paperwork just for living near the state line,” Tester said.  “This is a common sense measure that cuts red tape while allowing states to responsibly support farmers and protect their equipment.”

Pictures from Tester’s Agriculture workshop are available on Senator Tester’s Facebook page HERE.  The event followed Tester’s successful women’s small business workshop in Missoula on February 21.