Tester: Bipartisan Farm Bill supports Montana’s farmers

Senator calls on House to back bill’s reforms, support state’s top industry

(U.S. SENATE) – Jon Tester, the U.S. Senate’s only farmer, today released the following statement after the Senate passed the bipartisan Farm Bill by a vote of 64 to 35:

“This Farm Bill preserves a strong safety net for farmers while making long-needed reforms that save taxpayers money.  It’s a bipartisan, fiscally responsible plan that came together because folks worked across party lines to support Montana’s number one industry. 

“Unfortunately, the House is prepared to delay work on the Farm Bill, creating the same uncertainty for farmers that it has for construction workers, teachers, and postal employees.  The House needs to put jobs and our economy first and pass the Senate’s responsible, bipartisan bill.”

The Senate reauthorized the Farm Bill for five years.  The bill replaces direct payments to farmers with a new initiative that protects them from sudden losses and provides them with new crop insurance options.  It also streamlines conservation initiatives to help farmers preserve clean air and water and ensure public land access for sportsmen and women.

Tester specifically amended the Farm Bill to allow Butte and Kalispell to qualify for Agriculture Department rural housing loans and to ensure that payments continue under the Livestock Forage Disaster Program even if the Drought Monitor does not accurately reflect drought conditions. 

The House of Representatives recently delayed consideration of its own version of the Farm Bill.  It has also refused to vote on the Senate’s bipartisan Highway Bill that will put Montanans to work upgrading the state’s roads and bridges and keep teachers on the job and failed to pass a postal reform bill that will protect mail delivery and jobs in rural America.