With Governor Steve Bullock’s signature, Senate Bill 155, “the Seed Bill,” became law May 22. The Seed Bill was a priority piece of legislation for the Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) during the 65th Legislative Session and was widely supported for its ability to protect private property rights and provide regulatory consistency to Montana’s seed laws.

“Senate Bill 155 is a proactive, common sense piece of legislation that is of great importance to Montana’s agricultural industry. We applaud its passage and we’re thankful Gov. Bullock has made it law,” said MFBF Executive Vice President John Youngberg.

The law prohibits local government entities from regulating the cultivation, transportation, sale or processing of any agricultural or vegetable seed in the state. This law protects farmers and ranchers from undue regulatory burden and provides consistency to seed regulation throughout the state.  

The Seed Bill was carried by Sen. Mike Lang of Malta and supported by every major agricultural organization in the state, including Montana Farm Bureau. Deciding what crops to plant is a calculated decision, including economic and environmental factors, and should not be left to the whims of city or county governments. Rather, Senate Bill 155 ensures farmers and ranchers maintain their right to determine what seeds they put in the ground and promises they won’t be exposed to a patchwork of varying rules and regulations

“The Seed Bill is about private property rights; it’s a farmer’s right to choose the seeds or cropping systems that make the best use of their available resources,” noted Youngberg. “Its passage is timely and very important to Montana agriculture because we’re seeing a trend of this type of local regulation across many states in the western U.S. Local bans on specific crops or cropping systems are detrimental to our farm and ranch families and local economies.”