Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney Releases “Growing Montana” Plan with U.S. Senator and Montana Farmer Jon Tester

MONTANA—Alongside U.S. Senator and Montana farmer Jon Tester, Lt. Gov Mike Cooney today released his plan to provide critical support for rural communities and struggling farmers and ranchers in Montana.

Cooney’s “Growing Montana” plan will create good-paying jobs in the ag and manufacturing industries, reinstate Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for beef and pork products, and invest in renewable fuels and hemp as crops.

“Farming and ranching is a way of life for folks in rural Montana, and agriculture remains the most important sector of our state’s economy,” said Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney. “But Montana’s ag industry is hurting right now. As governor I am going to stand up and fight for producers from Sidney to Dillon and make sure they have the certainty and support they need to stay in business, continue the critical work of feeding America, and eventually pass their operations down to their kids and their grandkids.”

“Montana’s farmers and ranchers grow the best crops and raise the best cattle in the world, and we need a strong advocate in Helena who will fight for us,” said Tester, a third-generation farmer. “Mike Cooney understands production agriculture and the unique challenges family farmers face, particularly after years of Republicans’ disastrous trade policies, and as Governor he’ll work tirelessly to ensure a bright future for our state’s number one economy.”

“Family farm agriculture is our state’s top industry, and Mike Cooney has been and will continue to be a champion for ag producers everywhere,” said Walt Schweitzer, Montana farmer and rancher. “From right to repair to expanding access to markets for farmers to sell their world-class products, Mike will show up and fight each and every day to make sure Montana’s farmers and ranchers have what they need to be successful.”

Agriculture remains Montana’s number one industry and it’s critical that we continue to fight for Montana farmers, ranchers and the agriculture industry in Montana. Between Trump’s trade war, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the increasing impacts of a changing climate, Montana farmers and ranchers have been hurting. Everyone in the world recognizes Montana for our world-class agricultural products. As governor, Mike Cooney will support Montana farmers, ranchers and producers, seek new ways to open up markets for Montana products overseas, and ensure the trends of diversification and value-added agriculture continue.

GROWING MONTANA PLAN

Supporting Good-Paying Manufacturing Jobs

  • Increase the percentage of funding for the Growth Through Agriculture Program through the Coal Severance Tax Fund to help Montana producers and manufacturers to create more good-paying jobs through value-added agriculture.

Country of Origin Labeling

  • Reinstate Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for beef and pork products to give Montana producers an edge and provide consumers with more information about Montana’s world-class products.

Grown in Montana: Montana Meat

  • Encourage and support the development of local and regional state certified meat processing facilities.
  • Provide for an extension of the Made in Montana and Grown in Montana brand to meat products.

Supporting Hemp as a Crop

  • Invest in a diversified processing infrastructure, which adds value to every part of the plant: the cannabinoids, the fiber, and the grain. 
  • Work with the federal government to open up the feed market for hemp.
  • Make sure banks, regulators, and other service providers treat hemp producers like the legal businesses they are.

Supporting “Right to Repair” Legislation

  • Push to allow Montana’s farmers and ranchers the right to repair their own equipment, saving them time and money.

Thanks to the fiscal responsibility of the Bullock/Cooney Administration, Montana’s budget is in a strong position headed into the 2021 legislative session. Cooney has proposed several measures to increase revenues to the state to fund public lands, health care and education programs, including increasing the upper-income tax bracket on individuals who earn more than $500,000 a year to 11% and capping the capital gains tax credit at $1 million, which is expected to generate $64 – 80 million per year.

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