BOZEMAN, Montana—On Thursday, U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke held a 2023 Farm Bill listening session to discuss what Montana’s farmers and ranchers need. Held at the Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) headquarters in Bozeman, the listening session was attended by representatives of MFBF, Montana Grain Growers Association, Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana FFA, Montana Pulse Crop Committee, Montana Farmers Union and Montana’s potato industry. 

During the listening session, Zinke discussed a variety of issues directly impacting Montana agriculture such as President Biden’s recent veto of the Congressional Review Act overturning his Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, crop insurance, struggles of young farmers and ranchers, and trade. 

“On behalf of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, I want to thank Congressman Zinke for his organization of today’s farm bill listening session in Bozeman,” said MFBF’s Executive Vice President Scott Kulbeck. “We were happy to host the Congressman and other agricultural organizations in Bozeman to present Farm Bureau priorities for the farm bill along with showing off our new Farm Bureau Center.  I was encouraged to hear Representative Zinke express optimism for getting a farm bill passed and we look forward to working closely with him to make sure our priorities are included in the legislation.”

Kulbeck specifically discussed how Montana’s farmers and ranchers are still reeling from impacts of the drought, inflation and increased input prices so the need for strong safety nets such as crop insurance are critical to ensuring Montana agriculture stays prosperous. Participants also discussed the need for increased funding in the USDA’s Foreign Market Development Program and Market Assistance Program, expanding veteran farmer programs, and extending the Conservation Reserve Program’s (CRP) 25 percent limitation to a per-farm basis. 

“In Montana, farmers want to farm, and ranchers want to ranch, so we emphasized the importance of working-lands-focused conservation programs along with other priorities such as crop insurance for commodities,” Kulbeck said.