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Montana Ag Network: Montana Farm Bureau meets in Billings

BILLINGS- This week, members of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation are in Billings for their annual convention. In addition to informational workshops, attendees are discussing important ag issues that are impacting their farms and ranches.

With the midterm elections over, getting a new farm bill passed is important for farmers.

“We really depend on the farm bill and the insurance part of it,” said Jim Bowman, a farmer and farm bureau member from Glasgow.  “So, we can cover our expenses. It’s pretty expensive with fertilizer, chemical costs, machinery costs and labor costs and everything put together to be able to have a sustainable farm to keep going for the next generation.”

On the trade front, new U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows exports of U.S. beef are on the rise. That’s why ranchers say strengthening existing trade agreements has been positive.

“We in the United States, of course, are producing a product that is basically more than what we can be used in our country,” said Gail Vennes, a rancher and farm burea member from Townsend. “We need to trade with the other countries around the world to not only move our product but also help feed people around the world.”

With important ag issues like these on the table, the annual convention is where Montana Farm Bureau members set their grassroots policy which guides the organization for the coming year.

“The main purpose of this annual convention is for the delegates to come together from all over the state, all the different counties, and bring their cares and concerns and put it together as a policy book that we use to guide us in our lobbying efforts both in Helena and Washington, D.C.,” said Montana Farm Bureau President Hans McPherson from Stevensville.

This year’s convention also kicks off the organization’s centennial. The Montana Farm Bureau turns 100 years old in 2019.

Story by Russell Nemetz, MTN News

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