Protecting Family Farms and Ranches

Jon still farms the same Montana land his grandparents homesteaded in 1912. He’s the Senate’s only active farmer, and he has been front-and-center in the fight to protect family farms and ranches.

Jon knows that one-size-fits-all federal regulations often don’t cut it in Montana. That’s why he took giant food corporations head-on during the debate over the Food Safety bill, and he successfully included an amendment to protect family-scale producers from new regulations they don’t need and can’t afford. He also led efforts to oppose a Labor Department rule restricting youth labor on farms, and he has long opposed the EPA’s plans to regulate “farm dust.”

Jon helped pass country-of-origin-labeling into law — and worked to strengthen those rules as they were put in place — so that Montana consumers can make informed decisions about where they get their food.

After all, Jon understands the value of quality, locally-sourced foods — he regularly butchers his own beef and brings it with him to Washington.

Whether it’s food safety issues or wildlife management, Jon always keeps in mind the real consequences for the people of Montana. Jon introduced the Meat Safety and Accountability Act, to ensure large industrial meat suppliers are held accountable for shipping tainted meat, and not just the small processors they ship to.

He successfully blocked a National Animal ID program that would have harmed Montana’s beef producers. And he worked hard to see that Montana’s producers are offered fair rates to ship their products to market, pushing railroads to offer fair shipping rates and better service. He also supports the Railroad Antitrust Enforcement Act to provide more options for rail shipping.

In 2011, Congress passed Jon’s responsible, bipartisan legislation to remove Montana’s wolves from the Endangered Species List and return their management to the State of Montana.

Jon’s delisting followed a judge’s controversial decision in 2010 to return wolves to the Endangered Species List, even though their numbers had fully recovered. While other politicians offered only partisan grandstanding and radical plans that would never have moved forward, Jon worked with Montana’s ranchers, hunters and conservationists on a science-based measure that became law. Today Montanans are managing gray wolves again, and protections can be restored if the wolves’ numbers ever fall too low again.

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