The 2023 legislative session is in full swing, and many bills have already been introduced. Early session red tape needs to be navigated before action can be taken.  Rachel Cone, Director of State Governmental Affairs for MFBF is one of the lobbyists that is in Helena, and she talked to KMON about some of discussion that affects MT agriculture.

Rachel: It was a very strong kickoff this year. We got right to work. There's been a lot of bills we've already heard and a lot that we are already keeping a close eye on. As many know, there's been work in regards to the red tape relief and that means that all of the agencies been working through at the interim to find parts and pieces that they have the opportunity to get rid of some of the regulatory burden. So, we've been seeing a lot of legislation come through that way. We really thank all the different agencies for that work. We've been able to testify in many bills with the Department of AG, Livestock, and others to support them in those endeavors and make sure that our members have less issues to get through when it comes to some of the regulatory parts and pieces that they have to deal with on their operation. So, we've been seeing a lot of big ticket items that we've already been able to testify on and talk about.


Throughout the interim, we've been very involved with the comprehensive water review, that's some of the work that the DNRC was able to do, they had two separate work groups, and both those resulted in some legislation that we are seeing come forward. One of them having to do with the water court, the other one having to do with the change process for water rights. And we support both of those bills, one in regards to the change process, it's just a really good opportunity for the DNRC to be more transparent and more timely in the work that they do, which in return really helps our members. Our members have been up at the capital able to testify, able to share their support and we have even more work looking forward.


We've already been able to testify in support of the budget for both the Department of AG and the Department of Livestock and look forward to keeping an eye out for budgets for some other agencies like Department of Natural Resources as we move forward. Because what they do, all of those agencies do a lot for our members to keep our industries running, and we want to ensure that they have the proper funding to do so.

Rachel and her team have several ways to keep up with their progress

Rachel: We're here in Helena for our members and we really encourage everyone to stay involved. If you're a Farm Bureau member, you should receive weekly emails from us letting you know what bills they've testified on, where they are in their process and what's going on with them. That should come out every Friday. If you are a Farm Bureau member and you're not receiving that email, please feel free to reach out to our office and we are happy to try and help get you on that email list. Additionally, every Friday at noon, you can tune into the Farm Bureau Facebook page. We go live with your lobbyists. It's myself and Nicole Rolf, and we'll talk about what we've been doing this week, what's been going on, how we testified. It's also a really great opportunity for you to ask any questions you have. You can try and tune in when we're live and ask the questions and we'll answer them live, or you can watch those videos later on, ask whatever questions you've got and we'll try and get back to you then via Facebook. We want to make sure that we're doing everything we can to keep members up to date, and so we're really always happy to help. If there's any issues that people see coming up or you see through any of the Farm Bureau stuff that we talk about, that you are really passionate about and you want to testify on or get more opinions on, please feel free to reach out to us. We're here to help and we always encourage people to get involved. Contact your legislators for different issues, come to the Capitol and Helena, testify on behalf of them. All really good and important ways to stay engaged and stay involved with the legislative session.

Rachel Cone and Nicole Rolf will continue to keep KMON listeners informed on actions at the 2023 Montana Legislative session.  Watch for those weekly updates on our 560 KMON website as  well as the MFBF website.

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