From the Farm: Tester Talks Food Security and Preserving Family Farm Agriculture in National Ag Week Video
As the Senate’s only working farmer, Senator Jon Tester today marked the beginning of National Ag Week with a video message for Montana’s producers.
“We all know that family farmers are the backbone of this country. Without family farm agriculture, we wouldn’t have the kind of food security we need to support our democracy,” said Tester. “[It’s] too darn important to give up on. And I know these are tough times, but we’ll continue to work to make sure that the American farmers are going to last for generations and generations to come. Happy National Ag Week.”
National Ag Week, along with National Ag Day on Tuesday, is commemorated each year in March as a time to recognize and celebrate the hard work and contributions of all those in the agriculture industry.
As a third-generation Montana farmer and long-time champion for Montana producers, Tester is pushing several bills in Congress that will level the playing field for family farmers and ranchers by combatting consolidation and boosting competition within the industry:
- Tester’s Meat Packing Special Investigator Act, which is co-led by Republican Senators Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rounds (R-S.D.), would create the “Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters” within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Packers and Stockyards Division. The new USDA special investigator will have a team of investigators, with subpoena power, dedicated to preventing and addressing anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industries and enforcing our nation’s antitrust laws.
- Senators Tester, Grassley, Fischer (R-Neb.), and Wyden (D-Ore.) also introduced their Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act, which will establish regional mandatory minimum thresholds of negotiated cash and negotiated grid cattle trades in order to ensure that Montana’s ranchers are getting a fair shake in a highly consolidated cattle market. And Tester recently introduced his bipartisan American Beef Labeling Act, which would ensure that only beef raised in the United States is labeled as “Product of USA.”
- Earlier this year, Tester introduced his Agriculture Right to Repair Act to finally guarantee farmers the right to repair their own equipment and end current restrictions on the repair market.
- Tester also just secured $7.8 million in American Rescue Plan funds for 30 Montana small businesses-including 17 meat processing projects and resources for three new USDA inspected meat processing facilities.