Working for You

Each month we provide some key areas where MGGA leaders and staff have been working on your behalf. Here is a sampling of important issues and activities for July 2018:

  • MGGA President Michelle Erickson-Jones and former MGGA President and National Barley Growers Association President Herb Karst participated in a roundtable event with other business leaders at the invitation of Senator Jon Tester to discuss the impact of tariffs and an escalating trade war on commodity prices, supply costs, and the stability of international markets.
  • The Montana Grains Foundation board of directors held a conference call to discuss status of the Winifred-Asbjornson Endowed Chair fundraising campaign and to coordinate opportunities for donor recognition.
  • MGGA Executive Vice President Lola Raska attended a Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee meeting in Helena where draft bills in response to HJ 22, an agricultural property study bill passed by the 2017 legislature, were proposed and voted on. The committee approved drafting a bill for the 2019 session that would allow the maximum energy expense for all irrigated land, eliminating the requirement that irrigated growers submit energy costs at each reassessment. Failed proposals included an effort to change the $1,500 gross income requirement for ag classification on parcels less than 160 acres, and to require that on 5 acre parcels or less, a ½ acre homesite be valued at 75% of market value instead of the current ag land valuation.
  • Raska participated in the summer meeting of the Montana Wheat & Barley Committee in Lewistown where past MGGA President Charlie Bumgarner, Great Falls, began his tenure as a Committee Director for District 5, replacing the termed out Bruce Myllymaki of Stanford.
  • President Jones testified before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee at a hearing held to examine how family farmers are being negatively affected by U.S. imposed tariffs and those imposed by foreign countries in retaliation.
  • President Jones and EVP Raska met with Risk Management Agency Administrator Martin Barbre at the Erickson-Jones farm near Broadview to discuss crop insurance policy issues of concern to Montana grain producers.
  • Officers and staff participated in several conference calls with National Association of Wheat Growers policy committees on prioritizing various provisions of the House and Senate passed farm bills for communication to Conference Committee members. At this writing House conferees have been named and Senate conferees are expected before the end of July, paving the way for discussions to begin in August with a goal of completion before the current bill expires on Sept 30.