Tester meets with Montana Grain Growers, discusses work to protect small farms

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester this week met with representatives from the Montana Grain Growers Association (MGGA) to discuss the Farm Bill and other topics important to wheat and barley growers.

The meeting came as the Senate prepares to approve the Farm Bill. The final Farm Bill expands crop insurance for farmers and shifts the crop loss evaluation to the farm-level instead of the county-level, something supported by the Grain Growers.

“Agriculture is Montana’s number one industry, and I always look forward to meeting with the representatives from the Montana Grain Growers Association to talk about how to strengthen production agriculture,” said Tester, a dry-land farmer from Big Sandy. “From supporting a bipartisan Farm Bill to making sure small farms aren’t subject to onerous new regulations, I will keep fighting for Montana’s hard-working farmers and ranchers.”

Tester also recently convinced the Occupational Safety and Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to withdraw their proposal to regulate grain bins on small farms. Until Tester’s intervention, OSHA did not view on-farm grain storage and handling as part of farm operations, and therefore made grain bins subject to OSHA regulation and enforcement.

Thanks to a letter Tester sent OSHA and language he inserted in the recent government funding bill, the agency abandoned its plan to regulate grain bins on small farms.

Joining Tester in his Washington, D.C. office were Grain Growers President Matt Flikkema from Manhattan, Vice President Charlie Bumgarner from Great Falls, Treasurer Rob Davis from Larslan, Past President Ryan McCormick from Kremlin, Director Tryg Koch from Kalispell, and Executive Director Lola Raska from Great Falls.