Tester: New report shows value of investing in Montana agriculture

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester, the Senate’s only working farmer, today released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its latest Agriculture Census:

“Today’s report shows the value of making strong investments in Montana’s agriculture sector. Family farmers and ranchers continue to strengthen our state’s number one industry, creating jobs and growing Montana’s economy. Making sure young folks have a chance to start careers in agriculture will ensure that it remains the engine of our economy and our rural way of life.”

According to the 2012 Agriculture Census, Montana agriculture product sales totaled $4.2 billion, up from $2.8 billion in 2007. The report shows that products like wheat and barley have experienced significant growth since the 2007 census.

Between 2009 and 2013, the Agriculture Department invested $2.3 billion to support Montana farmers and ranchers.

Senator Tester this year helped pass a five-year bipartisan Farm Bill that strengthens the safety net for farmers and ranchers while saving taxpayers more than $23 billion. The law included Tester’s initiative to support beginning farmers and ranchers.

The 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture for Montana is available online at http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/. The census is issued every five years.