Senator Tester stops in Great Falls to talk about Farm Bill and WOTUS
Montana’s Senior Senator Jon Tester is the only working Farmer in Congress and therefore he is watching the Farm Bill very closely. The senator is hopeful it will be passed this year. He started his day by announcing his plans to run for a 4th term in the United States Senate and continued with a radio interview with 560 KMON’s morning show.
Will the Farm Bill get passed this year
Senator Tester: Well, I think yeah. I mean, that's got to be the goal. If it's not the goal, then we're going to have an extension. That's what happened four or five years ago, and that's not the best.
We need to get a farm bill done by the end of September, so we have the certainty.
And look, I've had a number of farm bill listening sessions around the state already. And I think it's really important that we listen to the folks on the ground. And what we've heard is, look, crop insurance is important. Don't screw that up. If anything, add more crops to it, especially in a day of cover crops. Things have changed the last five years in that I'm talking about the reference price. You know, inflation has had its impacts on reference prices at about $5.50 a bushel. That really doesn't cut it now. So whether we put it up to an arbitrary number or what I'd rather do is use, you know, the inflation index and put it up to a number that more accurately reflects what's transpired. That's important. Making sure that the programs out there that deal with conservation are more flexible because, quite honestly, you know, when it comes to drilling wells or putting in fences, we're short on those folks, well drillers and dirt movers and those kind of folks. So making sure that the time lines are a little more flexible so that the projects can get done without running into a timeline from the federal government is important. And there's a bunch more stuff, too. But those are just three kind of highlights. And to get directly to your question, I think right now the committee is gathering information. We're giving them information, and we're going to continue to give them information. And I think they'll put this thing together sometime early summer.
Not everyone is on board with the SNAP program
Senator Tester: So SNAP is food support and it's something that is really important to the people who need it. And it's also something I think it's always been tied to the farm bill and their support today of the farm bill because quite honestly, it's about food. But more importantly, we need to get enough votes to get this thing passed. And if it's just absolutely 100% eccentric, it puts that at risk. And so making sure that we have a more broad based bill is really important.
Waters of the United States, BKA WOTUS
Senator Tester: It's a big deal. It truly is a big deal. And it's got to work for production agriculture. It's got to work for everybody. And I think we talked about this a time or two ago.
I don't know why the EPA came out with a rule end of the year. It doesn't make any sense to me because quite honestly, the Supreme Court is going to come out with a rule probably in June.
They've already made the decision. They just haven't announced it yet. We've got to make sure that rule works, too. And if it doesn't, then we're going to have to put up language and act of Congress to fix it. And so it's important. Look, clean water is important. Clean air is important. We've got to make sure that agriculture is isn't impacted negatively by this. Everybody in agriculture knows that, by the way. And so we just need to make sure it works.
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