The Searchlight: Senator Daines Tours United Grain

On Tuesday, Oct. 3, United States Senator Steve Daines, along with his press secretary Katie Waldman and field representative Nate Williams, arrived in Culbertson to tour the United Grain Company facility. This was one of the many stops on Daines’ 648-mile trip around Montana.

Daines greeted several of United Grain’s managers after arrival and discussed the new construction at the facility and the presidential election. Construction on United Grain’s new grain bins began on July 5, 2015, and they will be put to use in the near future. 

United Grain managers explained that the best they’ve done is get 200 railcars through their facility in six hours 57 minutes. Daines mentioned that he felt the facility was impressive and he wanted to do the tour to see how the new infrastructure worked. 

The presidential campaign was discussed, as managers asked Senator Daines for his opinion on the election. 

“I’d like to remind folks that we are picking more than just a president,” Daines stated. “We are picking the U.S. Supreme Court, cabinet agencies, the justice of court, secretary of state and more. I’ve heard people say that everyone in the government are the same. To that, I say ‘Follow me around D.C. for a day’. No two are the same. Look at Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. There is a big gap there and different philosophies,” he added. 

Daines mentioned that he was one of the first senators to endorse Marco Rubio. He said that he believes Donald Trump has picked a good team having candidate for vice president Mike Pence. 
“Electing Hillary Clinton would be another four years of Barack Obama,” he added.

The main reason why Daines was on tour was so that he could hear what the concerns are about Washington, D.C., and what they can do to bring that voice back to Washington, D.C. He mentioned that there are a lot of dependencies on agriculture in eastern Montana as it the number one industry in the state. 

“I’ve been spending a lot of time with the county commissioners and agriculture producers, hearing their concerns on everything from low prices to the need for access to export markets to increase that, to regulations that we see coming from Washington, D.C., that are not helping but they’re hurting,” he stated.

It was most important to him to be sure that Montana has the infrastructure to get our goods to market. We are very dependent on infrastructure to get so much of our products in Montana to overseas markets, according to Daines. He gave the example of infrastructure with United Grain in Culbertson, stating that the facility is a perfect example of that and that it is good to see any infrastructure to continue to serve the farmers in the community to get their products to market.

When asked how important the United Grain facility’s new elevators is to the area’s economy and to the farmers who utilize it, Daines said that there are nearly one million bushels of additional capacity here, which almost doubles in capacity, that is preparing the infrastructure for the future. 
“We continue to expand our operations and get our Montana-made products to markets overseas faster and more efficiently,” he said.

In 2015, Senator Daines had applauded the Senate passage of the United States Grain Standards Act Reauthorization Act, which contains key reforms secured by Daines to ensure Montana farmers are protected from disruptions in federally mandated grain inspections. 

“Knowing how critical the Federal Grain Inspection Service is to the uninterrupted flow of grain from Montana farmers to our customers overseas, Senator Daines has been a strong advocate for us in Congress and we very much appreciate his efforts,” Montana Grain Growers Association president Charlie Bumgarner stated. “Steve was successful in inserting provisions in the GSA that will provide more oversight and transparency in the case of any future port disruptions.

Daines’ provisions included in the GSA are as follows: In the event of a disruption, the Secretary is required to immediately take actions as are necessary to address the disruption and resume inspections or weighing; If the disruption persists, the Secretary is required to notify Congress within 24 hours of a disruption, including a report that describes any actions necessary so that inspections may resume; Requires the Secretary provide daily updates for the duration of any disruption.