"Water rights are imperative. We all depend on water one way or another, so the efforts and work the water committee in Farm Bureau is doing is crucial in the overall operations for our farms and ranchers and for all the citizens of Montana."
Mike Murphy is the vice-chair of the Montana Farm Bureau Water Policy Committee and executive director for Montana Water Resources Association. The Water Policy Committee is developing Farm Bureau policy focused on the adjudicated of Montana water rights, water compacts in the state and more.
Become a Montana Farm Bureau member to make an impact in how these policies are formed: www.mfbf.org.
2016 Water Committee Meeting
While policy development happens at the county Farm Bureau level, these committee meetings provide a chance to discuss important topics with a variety of individuals who have varying input and expertise. Based on the discussion held during the meetings, the committee may make suggested policy recommendations that members then discuss at the county level and vote on during their county annual meetings. Here are a few highlights from the Water Committee meeting:
- Remote Sensing Hydrologist position at DNRC: The committee was concerned about the position being involved in enforcement. The job application indicated that they would be used for expert testimony in contested cases. The committee will take the issue back to their counties for policy discussion.
- Exempt from filing opportunity: John reported that the legislation had yet to be implemented because rules had not been adopted. There will be legislation to extend the date of filing. Committee made a board recommendation to have staff publicize the deadline for filing and information on filing in the Newsbrief.
- State Assumption of 404 Permits: The committee discussed potential policy and the pro’s and con’s of having the state take over. Recommendation was to wait until the Water Policy Interim Committee finished their study and publicize the results to the committee and counties.
- Infrastructure: Mike Murphy and John reported on the state of the irrigation infrastructure around the Montana. Most dams are at least 50 years old as are the irrigation projects. Many are in desperate need of repair. The discussion was how the repairs would be funded. John will report to the infrastructure coalition later this summer.
- SB 325, Numeric Nutrient Standards: John reported on the lawsuit against the EPA and why it may become a problem for agriculture even though we are mainly non-point sources.
Sounds interesting—how do I get on a committee?
Each committee is made up of 10 primary members (one representative from each district) and 10 alternates. Nominations must be made during the district caucuses held each November during annual convention.
Not sure what district you’re in? Find out here: http://mfbf.org/county-farm-bureau/.
After the district caucuses, the nominations are submitted and the President makes the final committee appointments following annual convention. Each committee is assigned a MFBF staff contact. This contact works with the committee chair and members to set the agenda for each meeting, share pertinent information between meetings, and collect resources for the committees to use when discussing policy.
Water Committee members:
- District 1—Roger Raynal, Corvallis
- District 1—Susan Lake, Ronan
- District 2—Rhonda Boyd
- District 3—Bill Bergin, Jr., Melstone
- District 4—Matt Cremer, Melville
- District 5—Aaron Phipps, Powderville
- District 6—Kenny Nemitz, Glendive
- District 7—Scott Toavs, Wolf Point
- District 8—Riley Denning, Sun River
- District 9—Mike Murphy, Wolf Creek
- District 10—Spencer Smith, Belgrade
Do you have a voice in shaping the issues that impact your livelihood? Find out what district you would be in, reach out to your grassroots members and join the Montana Farm Bureau Federation today.