Tester, Baucus introduce bill to boost veteran employment through farming

Senators to push provision in upcoming Farm Bill

(U.S. SENATE) – Montana U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus have introduced a bill to help boost veteran employment through farming. The Senators plan to attach the provisions to the upcoming Farm Bill, which is scheduled to be considered by the Senate Agriculture Committee next week.

Tester and Baucus noted that because 45 percent of those serving in the military come from rural communities, farming is a natural fit for veterans returning home and looking to pursue a new career.

“Veterans that sacrificed for our nation should have the same opportunities as everyone else when it comes to starting or expanding their farms,” said Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “This bill will level the playing field, strengthen Montana’s economy, and make sure we honor our commitments to Montana’s veterans and their families.”

“I’ve declared war on veteran’s unemployment, and that means looking for ways to boost job opportunities in everything we do, including the Farm Bill,” said Baucus, who is a senior member of the Senate Committee that writes farm legislation. “We are proud to have so many Montanans volunteer for service. And because so many of our service men and women come from rural areas like Montana, agriculture is a natural fit to help them find the jobs they need to return to that rural way of life.”

Tester and Baucus’s bill would:

  • Give veterans preference in programs that make it cheaper and easier to institute best practices in farming, and
  • Create a new Military Liaison Office to assist veterans at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and expands outreach programs to help make veterans aware of the resources available to them.

Baucus is a senior member of the Agriculture Committee. He inserted similar provisions in the Farm Bill the Senate passed last year, and will push them again when the Agriculture Committee considers this year’s Farm Bill next Tuesday.

Tester and Baucus have joined forced in declaring war on veteran unemployment. Together they introduced the Veteran Employment Transition Act of 2013, or “VETs Act,” to make it easier for veterans to transfer military skills into the civilian workforce and allow more businesses to utilize the tax credit for hiring veterans.