Tester Works Across the Aisle to Strengthen Montana’s #1 Industry, Protect Clean Water

Senator Fights to Deliver Vital Agriculture and Water Funding to Rural Communities

(U.S. Senate)-U.S. Senator Jon Tester today worked across the aisle to strengthen Montana’s #1 industry and protect clean water for rural communities.

Tester used his position as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to include funding for important Montana initiatives in two recent bipartisan laws. During a committee meeting, Tester voted in favor of both the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill and the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, sending them to the Senate floor for a final vote.

“Both of these priorities reflect the infrastructure, agriculture, and business needs of Montana,” Tester said. “When we invest in our farmers and our infrastructure, we see big returns to Montana’s economy. This is further proof that when Republicans and Democrats work together, good things get done.”

The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill contains the following Montana provisions:

  • $3.7 million to keep the Fort Keogh Research Lab in Miles City from closing.
  • $5.6 million for the Northern Plains Research Lab in Sidney to continue its Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative.
  • $1.5 billion to keep Farm Service Agency open in farming and ranching communities.
  • $558.1 million for the USDA Rural Development Water and Wastewater Disposal loan and grant program.
  • $127.2 million for Wildlife Services to help manage and compensate producers for conflicts between natural predators and livestock.
  • $243.7 million to support State Agricultural Experiment Stations that do agricultural research.
  • $300 million for Smith-Level and Cooperative Extension, which connects land-grant institution educations and local agriculture professionals to provide expertise to farmers and consumers.
  • $425 million for a broadband pilot program aimed at improving high-speed internet services to rural America.


Tester also included important report language in the Agriculture Appropriations Bill urging the U.S. Agriculture Secretary to work with the Canadian government to resolve the unfair wheat grading practices in Canada that unfairly target Montana grain producers, as well as report language pushing the Appropriations Committee to invest more resources to expand access to high-speed internet in rural areas.

The Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Bill contains the following Montana provisions:

  • $10 million for the Blackfeet Water Compact.
  • $12 million for the Crow Water Compact.
  • $4.7 million for the Fort Peck and Dry Prairie Rural Water Project. 
  • $3.9 million for the Rocky Boy’s and Northcentral Montana Rural Water Project.
  • $6 million for watercraft inspection stations in the Columbia River Basin.
  • $4.8 million for the Missouri River Recovery Program.
  • $1.9 million for the Milk River Project, including St. Mary’s Diversion Dam.
  • $2.6 million for the Libby Dam.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester is responsible for writing the 12 government bills that fund the federal government.