Montana Farm Bureau Federation members representing 30 county Farm Bureau statewide gathered in Billings this week to discuss, debate and vote on policy for the coming year. Farm Bureau policy is a framework that guides the organization throughout the year. The Delegate Session is what makes Farm Bureau a unique grassroots organization with farmers and ranchers developing policy during their county annual meetings in September. Those policies are then voted on at the MFBF Convention in November. This year, the MFBF 102nd Convention ran November 8-11 in Billings.

Concerns about rising taxes and Congressional pay-fors were on the minds of the delegates who passed a resolution to oppose shifting tax burdens onto rural communities or agricultural lands.

The delegates added policy that would provide extra financial protection against losses by wolves, grizzlies and other predators. The policy supports covering reimbursement for animals that must be euthanized due to a predator attack; currently, only a confirmed death loss is reimbursed.

Although cloud seeding is a controversial topic, the delegate body opted to no longer oppose cloud seeding, but support research on the feasibility, effectiveness and safety of the practice.

The delegates added language to provide more support regarding labor and flexible use of various immigration labor programs. This would add protection to ag labor, and work towards mitigating the ag labor shortage. 

Language was added to an existing resolution that supports the testing for tuberculosis in sport cattle coming into the state. The delegates wanted to make sure that the right precautions were being taken to keep the commercial herds safe from the disease.

With much of Montana still reeling from a bad fire season, members spoke up regarding coal seam fires, passing policy to use practical prevention methods to mitigate damages from coal seam fires.

The resolution on coal seam fires and the resolution on livestock producers being reimbursed for animals needing to be euthanized following a predator attack have been submitted to the American Farm Bureau. Those resolutions will be discussed and voted on during the American Farm Bureau Convention in January in Atlanta.

“What makes Farm Bureau unique is the grassroots policy making process, where a policy from a county Farm Bureau can makes its way into the policy book on the national level,” noted MFBF Executive Vice President John Youngberg. “It’s always rewarding to see our members travel to our state convention to show how passionate they are about the issues that affect them on their farms and ranches.”

The Montana Farm Bureau Convention was held November 8-11 at the DoubleTree and Northern Hotels in downtown Billings.