Senate panel approves $2.8 million to assist Montana farmers and ranchers

Tester, Baucus included funding for Butte-based sustainable agriculture service

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Senate Appropriations Committee has agreed to set aside $2,800,000 in federal funding to provide technical assistance for farmers and ranchers through an organization based in Butte.

The funding is part of over $7,472,000 headed to Montana from the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill passed by Senator Jon Tester and his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for approval.  It must then be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and signed into law by the President.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will use the funding for its Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, which is nicknamed ATTRA.  ATTRA provides free information about sustainable agriculture to farmers and ranchers across Montana and the country.  In Montana alone last year, NCAT received 324 requests for technical assistance from all 56 counties. 

"This is great news for NCAT and for the American farm families who use our services to make their farms more energy efficient, diversify their production, find new markets and raise crops and livestock more sustainably,” said Kathy Hadley, Executive Director for the National Center for Appropriate Technology. “We appreciate the efforts of Senators Tester and Baucus for this increased funding."

“Montana's farmers and ranchers get to be on the cutting-edge of new technology and research thanks to the folks at the National Center for Appropriate Technology,” Tester said.  “The folks at NCAT do a lot of hard work on behalf of sustainable agriculture in Montana and elsewhere. I’ll support this project every step of the way.”

“I’m proud that an organization like NCAT calls Butte home,” Baucus said.  “Montana’s agricultural producers have a good place to turn to when they need technical assistance, which is why Jon and I fought so hard to including funding for ATTRA.”