WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Steve Daines today renewed his call to ensure timely and efficient grain inspections from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are conducted so that normal shipments of Montana grain will continue uninterrupted.
In a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee leaders, Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Daines underscored the importance of maintaining continuous required grain inspection for farmers, ranchers and producers. Daines also highlighted the need for USDA to provide a specific plan in the case of disruptions in grain inspections.
“The ability to get one’s harvest to consumers quickly and efficiently is essential for any farmer, rancher, or producer,” Daines wrote. “While no one disputes the importance and necessity of providing the Secretary of Agriculture discretion in the case of an emergency, it is my view that USDA should address any disruption in inspections as transparently as possible. If farmers’ livelihoods are threatened due to USDA declining to inspect grain exports, they should, at the minimum, be informed immediately of the safety issues and the mitigations that would need to be implemented to address the concerns.”
In the House, Daines fought for the immediate resumption of grain inspections at the Northwest’s largest grain terminal, the Port of Vancouver, after inspections stopped due to labor disputes. Interruptions in grain inspections placed a hardship on Montana’s growers, threatened export shipments, and endangered much of last year’s harvest.
Bulk wheat is Montana’s largest export. Montana farmers grow and export more than 150 million bushels of wheat each year. More than half of that wheat was purchased by Japan. Other markets for Montana wheat include Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Daines full letter to the Senate Agriculture Committee is available here.