Tester: Farm Bill ‘chock full of good stuff’ for Montana

Senator praises colleagues for working together to pass legislation

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester today praised his colleagues in the U.S. Senate for passing a compromise version of the 2007 Farm Bill—a measure Tester says has lots of benefits for all Montanans.

“The Farm Bill got the Washington runaround for far too long, and I’m glad the folks in the Senate finally came together and agreed on a policy that’s chock full of good stuff for Montana,” said Tester, one of only two farmers in the Senate.  “The Farm Bill doesn’t have everything we wanted, but it has a lot of good things Montana needs, and will create a lot of real opportunities.”


Tester said the 2007 Farm Bill benefits everyone because it ensures America has safe, abundant and affordable food.


But the bill specifically benefits Montanans because it:

  • Provides a safety net to make sure Montana’s farmers and ranchers don’t go bust when times are tough.  The bill includes a provision by Montana Senator Max Baucus to provide permanent agriculture disaster assistance.
  • Promotes renewable energy development in agriculture by providing incentives and assistance for bio-energy crops and wind power—a very significant program for rural Montana.  The Farm Bill contains a provision by Tester that provides a federal crop insurance pilot program for camelina, a plant whose oil can be converted into biodiesel.
  • Finally requires the federal government to implement Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), which will benefit Montana producers and consumers.
  • Strengthens conservation programs that focus on working lands, which is good for Montana’s sportsmen, water, air and wildlife.
  • Gives Montana farmers new opportunities.  The Farm Bill contains a measure by Tester that provides assistance to farmers who want to convert to organic farming.
  • Gives Montana ranchers new opportunities by banning ownership of cattle by meatpackers.  It also allows Montana ranchers to ship state-inspected meat to other states.  This will be a good marketing opportunity for “Made in Montana” products.
  • Gives more choices to Montana shoppers by promoting and increasing funding for local farmers’ markets.
  • Makes Montanans healthier and fights hunger by improving various nutrition programs, including food stamps.


The 2007 Farm Bill also improves rural development programs to make sure they go to communities that truly are rural and in need.


“The Farm Bill isn’t just about making sure Americans have food,” Tester said.  “For Montanans, it’s also about good-paying jobs.  It’s about healthy families.  And it’s about making sure Montana’s agricultural heritage remains competitive and strong in for future generations.”


The 2007 Farm Bill passed the U.S. Senate this afternoon with a bipartisan vote of 79-14.   It now goes to the U.S. House for consideration.