Tester Holds Second Farm Bill Listening Session in Flathead

Senator, Producers Discuss Importance of Specialty Crops and Value Added Ag

(Whitefish, Mont.)-Senator Jon Tester today held his second Barnstormin’ Farm Bill event at Glacier Hops Ranch to hear from specialty crop producers and farmers who are adding value to their crops.

“This tour is about getting feedback so we can draft a Farm Bill that strengthens family farm agriculture,” said Tester. “I was encouraged to hear from some awesome producers who are working to add value to their products, create jobs and boost our state’s number one industry.”

Specialty crop producers who joined Tester today raise hops, grapes, and fruits that traditionally have not been a part of Montana’s production agriculture landscape.

The current Farm Bill expires in 2018, but beginning next year Congress will begin holding hearings and constructing a new Farm Bill.

“We were pleased to host Senator Tester’s Farm Bill listening tour and be part of the roundtable discussion. We found that completely unrelated agriculture segments often times share the same problems and are looking for similar solutions,” said Tom Britz, Owner of Glacier Hops Ranch. “Because Jon is an active farmer and farms different crops he gets it, and he understands the intersection of agriculture, rural development and job creation.”

Tester’s listening session today was open to the public and was the second in a series of events he will be hosting across the state in the coming weeks and months. The additional listening sessions will focus on other aspects of the Farm Bill, which include conservation and forest management, conservation, and food safety initiatives. The third event will be held in Missoula on October 28 at 8:30 am at the University of Montana.

Tester is the only active farmer in the U.S. Senate, and he and his wife still farm the land his grandparents homesteaded over a century ago. In 2014, Tester helped pass a four-year Farm Bill that included robust investments in critical livestock disaster assistance, crop insurance, and the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program.