Great Falls Tribune: Farm bill a topic of interest at workshop sponsored by Tester

Budget cuts to farm programs are coming, said Montana native Bruce Nelson, administrator of the USDA Farm Service Agency.

Continuing to provide a safety net for agricultural producers — in light of the funding reductions — will be the challenge for FSA, he said Monday in Great Falls.

“We believe the emphasis should be on safety nets that relate to lower prices, lower revenue and lower production,” Nelson said.

Nelson’s comments followed a small business opportunity workshop at the Civic Center, which he headlined with Jonathan Coppess, senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee.

The workshop, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., drew about 130 Montana agricultural producers and speakers to panels on marketing, risk management, and financing and beginning farming and ranching.

The 2012 Farm Bill was a topic of discussion throughout the four-hour long workshop, which didn’t surprise Tester.

“Any time you get farmers together the farm bill is usually a topic of discussion,” he said.

Tester also announced at the workshop that he is cosponsoring an amendment in the Senate that allows farm vehicles to cross state lines without facing unnecessary regulations.

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