Senator Tester to visit with Lewistown area farmers and ranchers

By: 
DEB HILL
Managing Editor

Senator Jon Tester (right) meets with constituents regarding Farm Bill issues.

Photo courtesy of Senator Jon Tester’s Office

 

 

Since last October, Montana Senator Jon Tester has been holding listening sessions on the upcoming revision of the Farm Bill, and Friday is Fergus County’s chance to comment.

“The Farm Bill is critically important to producers in Fergus County and across all of Montana,” Tester said in an email to the News-Argus. “With low commodity prices, we need to ensure the safety net is working for Montana’s farmers and ranchers. I look forward to hearing from folks on the ground about how to best craft a Farm Bill that will work for Lewistown, Fergus County, and rural America.”

The last farm bill (technically called the Agricultural Act of 2014) was signed by President Obama in February of that year. The nearly 1,000 page bill covered everything from commodity payments and crop insurance to conservation of land to farmers markets and food stamps (now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP). The last bill took two years to pass out of Congress.

According to Luke Jackson, Montana press secretary for Tester, the Friday Farm Bill listening session will focus on the Agriculture portion of the Farm Bill, including the Farm Service Agency Loan program, voluntary conservation programs, and research and development for stopping disease and improving growing methods, among other topics.

Jackson provided information showing Fergus County has received $220 million in Farm Bill support since 1995. Producers in all 56 Montana counties receive funds through the Farm Bill, he said.

At Friday’s session, Tester will be joined by local producers and Montana Department of Agriculture officials.

Tester bills himself as the only working farmer in the U.S. Senate. He and his wife, Sharla, often point out they farm the same land near the town of Big Sandy that was homesteaded by Jon’s grandparents in 1912.

“As a farmer, I know it’s never too early to start planning, so I want to hear from Montana producers about what’s working and what needs to be improved to strengthen our state’s number one industry,” Tester wrote in a press release Monday. 

The Farm Bill listening session will be held Friday, May 26 from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. at the Lewistown Public Library upstairs meeting room, 701 W. Main Street.

 

 

 

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