Real ranchers react as Congressman belittles Montana’s top industry
BILLINGS, Mont.— Dennis Rehberg is taking heat from Montana ranchers after the career politician made controversial comments in a story published by the Associated Press this weekend.
Rehberg belittled Montana’s top industry when he defined ranching as: “Sitting around… trying to keep the cows in the fence and putting water in front of them and such.”
Ranching, of course, involves much more difficult work than that.
Despite claims that he makes on the campaign trail, Rehberg is not a rancher. The Associated Press story notes that Rehberg has not bought or sold cattle since 2000 according to livestock inspection records. Since 2001 Rehberg has been working as a land developer, turning his land into a subdivision called “Rehberg Ranch Estates.”
“Only someone like Dennis Rehberg who has been in politics for 35 years would think real ranching is ‘sitting around,’” said Tom Agnew, who ranches in Big Timber. “Congressman Rehberg’s insulting comment proves how out of touch he is with the hard and honest work that we do here in Montana.”
“Congressman Rehberg doesn’t value the work I do every day as a rancher,” said Marvin Quinlan Jr., who ranches near Forsyth, “And if Congressman Rehberg doesn’t value what Montana ranchers truly do, then he can’t be trusted to make responsible decisions on behalf of all agricultural producers. He’s a big-hat-no-cows kind of politician.”
Montana is home to 28,000 farms and ranches, and 2.5 million head of cattle. Agriculture is Montana’s largest industry employing over 31,000 people in the state and accounting for nearly a third of all economic activity in the state.