Tester Leads Bipartisan Bill to Invest in Montana’s Future Farmers and Rural Leaders

Senator’s Youth Lead Act will extend grants for out-of-school programs including 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA)

As part of his work to support the next generation of Montana leaders, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today introduced his bipartisan Youth Lead Act – a bill to extend grant funding for 4-H, Future Farmers of America (FFA), Girl Scouts of America, and Boy Scouts of America. Tester’s bill is aimed at specifically aiding rural areas and small towns, and would extend funding until 2029.

“I know firsthand how important family farms and ranches are to Montana agriculture, and it’s leadership programs like FFA and 4-H that teach the next generation of Montana farmers and ranchers the skills they need to succeed,” said Tester. “Whether these students go on to grow the food that feeds the world or pursue careers outside of ag, the skills they learn in these programs play a pivotal role in setting these students and rural America up for a bright future. My bipartisan Youth Lead Act will ensure these programs have the funding they need for years to come.”

4-H is the largest out-of-school youth development program in Montana, reaching nearly 20,000 youth in all 56 counties each year. The Montana FFA Association has over 5,000 members and 100 chapters. As of 2022, the Boy Scouts of America had 2,911 total youth memberships in 156 units in Montana as well as 1,847 adult volunteers across the state.

As the U.S. Senate’s only working dirt farmer, Tester has been Montana’s leading champion for farm and ranch families. He went to bat for family farmers and ranchers when he pushed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to eliminate the ‘climate disclosure rule’ that would have created burdensome federal reporting requirements for family farmers and ranchers. Last year, Tester introduced the Family Farm and Small Business Exemption Act to make sure farm families aren’t paying higher costs to send their kids to college. He has also consistently lead the push to kill the proposed “stepped up-basis” tax proposal, which would have negatively impacted families’ ability to pass their farm or ranch from one generation to the next.


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