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Montanans at ‘Farm Bill NOW’ Rally in D.C. Today

PHOTO: Corn being harvested. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
PHOTO: Corn being harvested. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
September 12, 2012

WASHINGTON - About a dozen Montanans are in the nation's capital to try to light a spark under Congress about the Farm Bill.

The current bill expires at the end of the month and, along with it, sections that not only address the nation's agricultural concerns but also conservation, research, energy and nutrition projects.

Chris Christiaens, director of special projects for the Montana Farmers Union, has been knocking on doors in Congress since Monday.

"I was in Rep. (Denny) Rehberg's (R-Mont.) office. He and his staff members say that it is not even on the calendar from leadership to move on the Farm Bill at this point."

Christiaens says it's estimated that one in every 12 American jobs is connected to the Farm Bill in some way. In Montana, pressing problems are directly affected by the legislation.

"We have about 54 counties in Montana that are in severe drought conditions, two counties which are declared as a national disaster. So, some of these counties will really need help in financing."

About 40 farm organizations are holding a rally today to urge Congress to act before the bill expires. Christiaens says options include passing a new Farm Bill that covers five years, or passing some type of continuation to keep programs running in the months ahead.

Details about the rally are online at farmbillnow.com.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT