Montana Senator Max Baucus recently discussed the future of the farm bill during a meeting with the Montana Farm Bureau and during a farm bill listening session.
Farming and agriculture is a major part of the Montana economy, Baucus said during his meeting with the Farm Bureau. One in five jobs in the state is directly tied to agriculture, making the upcoming farm bill debate vital for Montanans. In particular, Baucus pointed out, it was imperative that farmers lobby for specific federal programs.
During his meeting, Baucus laid out the specific goals the Senate Agriculture Committee had in mind. “I know we want a strong commodity title,” Baucus said. “I think direct will go and be replaced by farm-level loss protection programs. We want a strong crop insurance and conservation titles.” In addition, Baucus revealed an ambitious Senate plan to pass a new farm bill by the end of April.
These goals, however, could be undone by what Baucus implied was political grandstanding in the House of Representatives, where Republicans passed a budget that significantly cut agricultural spending. While Baucus was confident that the budget would not ultimately pass, “it gives you an idea of where they are at,” Baucus said. “The cuts they passed, which include cuts to the food stamp program, are eight times the level of what the Senate Ag Committee is looking at.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer