Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus helped usher the five-year Senate Farm Bill through final passage in the Senate today on a vote of 66 to 27. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Baucus secured major victories for Montana in the bill, including permanent assistance for ranchers hit by drought and other disasters. Baucus called on the House to act quickly to provide farmers and ranchers with certainty.
The Farm Bill Baucus helped pass out of the Senate today will support 16 million jobs nationwide and cuts spending by about $24 billion .
One in five jobs in Montana are tied to agriculture.
"The Senate Farm Bill provides certainty Montana farmers can take to the bank, and it makes sure our ranchers will always have the support they need when disaster strikes," Baucus said. "I'm calling on the House to act quickly - Montana jobs are counting on us to get this done."
Last year, Montana ranchers suffered the worst drought in more than 50 years.
Baucus created the Livestock Disaster Assistance Program in the 2008 Farm Bill. But they expired in 2011 and were unable to be extended with other short-term farm programs at the end of 2012 because they were separate from the rest of the Farm Bill. Baucus' provision in the Senate Farm Bill backfills the Livestock Disaster Programs to ensure Montana ranchers can get the support they need to recover from last year's drought. It also makes the programs a permanent part of the Farm Bill, so Montana ranchers will never again find themselves left out and having to ask Congress for assistance on an ad hoc basis.
Additional Victories Baucus Secured in the Farm Bill include:
Support for veterans pursuing jobs in farming
Support for timber jobs by combating bark beetle and healthy forests
Continuation of the sugar program, which supports Montana sugar growers and refinery jobs
The last Farm Bill expired September 2012. Last year, Baucus helped usher a five-year Farm Bill (S. 2340) through the Senate with overwhelming, bipartisan support on June 21, 2012. Unfortunately, the House failed to take action on the bill before the end of the year, forcing a short-term extension. That extension expires in September 2013.