Montana Ag: Risk management important in new farm bill

Members of Montana’s largest agriculture organization met this week in Billings to hear updates and set policies on issues impacting Montana farmers and ranchers. 

“We are such a small percentage of the farm bill that we know we have to play nice with others” Cyndi Johnson, vice president of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation from Conrad, said.

The farm bill is essentially agriculture’s play book for five years and work is already underway to ensure Montana farmers and ranchers are well-represented in the 2018 bill.

“The farm bill is currently being discussed at the national level and even our local members have an opportunity to weigh in on that process,” Johnson said.

For the Montana Farm Bureau, maintaining the Farm Bill’s commodity title is important.

“It’s weighing heavily on everyone’s minds,” Johnson said. “We are very concerned especially to what happens with risk management.”

Even though it’s called the Farm Bill, it’s also very important to consumers here in Montana and the United States.

“We manage to keep the cost of food really low,” Johnson said. “The lowest in the world because of good risk management. We need that tool.”

With just two percent of the population involved in production agriculture, speaking with a unified voice on issues like the Farm Bill is important.

“The process that we go through at this convention helps us have that unified voice,” Johnson said. 
“We can have those discussions on the delegate floor about what we agree upon regarding policy.”

Ultimately, some of the policies discussed and worked on at the Montana Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention in Billings will also be discussed and brought to the floor during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Convention in Nashville in January.

Montana will be well-represented as farm bill discussions heat up in our nation’s capitol because Montana Senator Steve Daines is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.