Tester talks tariffs with ag leaders in Billings

Posted at 5:07 PM, Jul 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 19:07:03-04

BILLINGS – At a meeting with ag and transportation leaders in Billings Thursday, the word Sen. Jon Tester heard the most was "uncertainty."

Farm and ranch leaders said their markets are down and the uncertainty of the impact of tariff changes will continue to put pressure on their industries.

“We’ve seen a 60 percent drop in prices in the past two years, and with tariff uncertainty we don’t see light at the end of the tunnel,” said U. S. Cattleman Association member Chris Skorupa, adding he expects another 6 to 10 percent drop through the fall.

Montana Grain Growers have seen a market drop in malt barley and other grains.  Michelle Erickson-Jones with the trade group said she’s concerned about companies continuing to invest in projects in the United States instead of taking those projects out of the country.

Shane Strecker with the American Sugar Beets Association said farmers used to have something to go to, another option for income, as an economic bail out but in today’s market, that is not there.    

Tester, a Montana Democrat added he’s glad President Donald Trump is in Montana today to see what’s happening in rural American regarding agriculture and business. 

Asked whether or not he will watch or listen to the Trump rally in Great Falls, Tester said, “ I hope to be on a tractor working on my pea crop."