Senate panel advances funding to assist Montana farmers and ranchers

Measure will sustain jobs at Butte-based sustainable agriculture service

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) –  Senator Jon Tester and his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee have passed legislation that provide technical assistance for farmers and ranchers through an organization based in Butte, Tester and Senator Max Baucus announced today.

The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Act contains funding for the National Center for Appropriate Technology, headquartered in Butte, to continue its research and development of new technology to help farmers and ranchers save energy and resources.

Under the current legislation, the National Center for Appropriate Technology would receive $2,800,000. The legislation must first pass the full Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives before the funding can be signed into law.

“The National Center for Appropriate Technology enables Montana's farmers and ranchers to be on the cutting-edge of new technology and research,” Tester said.  “The folks at NCAT do a lot of hard work and provide jobs for a lot of people in their ongoing efforts to research and develop more sustainable agriculture and energy initiatives. This is a smart investment in Montana’s number one industry.”

“Montanans all over the state benefit from the National Center for Appropriate Technology,” Baucus said.  “Jon and I fight hard for funding for NCAT because their research gives Montana’s agricultural producers a much-needed resource for innovative ways to solve the challenges of farming and ranching in the 21st century.”

For a list of funding for Montana under the Agriculture Appropriations Act, click HERE.

What is an appropriations bill?
  • A federal appropriations bill funds the federal government.  12 appropriations bills will fund the federal government for the next Fiscal Year.
  • Less than one half of one percent of these appropriations bills consist of congressionally directed funding (also called “earmarks”).  This funding is not additional spending for the federal government, nor does it increase federal deficit.  Rather, it is a set of directions telling the government where it must use existing funds.
  • In the past, appropriations funding had been abused by anonymous requests with little transparency.
  • Since 2007, the process was overhauled to guarantee transparency and fair debate in Congress.
  • All of Tester’s and Baucus’ appropriations requests are online HERE and HERE.