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Articles written by Chelcie Cargill


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  • Bill Wrap-Up Includes COOL, Economic Programs

    Chelcie Cargill, Montana Farm Bureau Federation|Apr 17, 2019

    The focus in Helena is turning away from committee hearings on new bills to amending, fine tuning and passing what legislation remains in volley. Farm Bureau didn’t testify on any new pieces of legislation this week; rather we focused on monitoring bills still at play and doing what we can to get them the rest of the way through the process. Legislation doesn’t automatically become law just because it passes through both chambers.  Once through the House and Senate, it faces one final hurdle and lands on Governor Bullock’s desk. The...

  • Legislature Gears Up After Transmittal Break

    Chelcie Cargill, Montana Farm Bureau Federation|Mar 20, 2019

    This week marked the first full week of committee hearings after the transmittal break. For the remainder of the legislative session the brunt of our work will focus on making sure bills we support continue to make it through the process. The exception to this rule is any bill which is considered a revenue bill. Any legislation with money attached to it has a later transmittal deadline of approximately April 1. While the volume of new bills certainly decreases after the initial transmittal deadline, we are keeping our eyes peeled for anything n...

  • Does DNRC Co-Own Your Water Right?

    Chelcie Cargill, Montana Farm Bureau Federation|Mar 6, 2019

    Saturday, March 2, marked the official transmittal deadline and halfway point of the 66th Montana Legislature. While most farmers and ranchers across the state are busy digging out of the recent snow accumulation, legislators in Helena have been busy digging out of the pile of bills that were racing against the clock to meet transmittal. Committee hearings concluded Feb. 27 and both the Senate and the House focused on completing their floor work. The Senate completed their work and adjourned for the transmittal break Feb. 27, but the House...

  • Zebra Mussels and Fake Meat

    Chelcie Cargill, Montana Farm Bureau Federation|Feb 13, 2019

    All good things must come to an end. We had a good run boasting about the slower pace of the legislative session. Apparently, all it takes to speed things up is a nasty cold snap and suddenly we all decide it’s a much better idea to stay indoors and discuss bills. This week we testified on many bills covering some very diverse topics. We talked early in the week about funding mechanisms for the Aquatic Invasive Species prevention program and legislation clarifying fossil ownership. The week rounded out with discussions on hemp production in...

  • Wild Bison Defined, Pipelines Challenged

    Chelcie Cargill, Montana Farm Bureau Federation|Feb 6, 2019

    “Don’t ever think your voice isn’t important.” This was the key message we hoped to impart on the Young Farmers & Ranchers who attended our Calling on the Capitol event this week in Helena. Attendees met with agency officials, bill drafters, committee chairmen and had the opportunity to participate in committee hearings. These events are a highlight of our time in Helena; getting farmers and ranchers in the halls of the Capitol is one of the key priorities to passing strong agricultural policy. In last week’s column we predicted the...

  • Bill Proposes Per Capita Payment as Eligibility Requirement for Predator Reimbursement

    Chelcie Cargill, Montana Farm Bureau Federation|Jan 30, 2019

    With over 3,000 bill draft requests and only a few hundred bills actually introduced, the Legislative Session is off to a remarkably slow start. While we don’t expect the lull to last, it has made the first few weeks of the session surprisingly bearable! Since committee hearings have been few and far between in recent history, we’ve had time to work on pieces of legislation that aren’t yet introduced. It’s often helpful to reach out to legislators before they even have a committee hearing scheduled. Sometimes we’re able to prevent...

  • Budget Beast Begins Journey Through Legislature; Tax Credits Benefit Irrigators; Charitable Giving

    Chelcie Cargill, Montana Farm Bureau Federation|Jan 23, 2019

    One of the first pieces of legislation to hit the ground during each legislature is the state’s budget. It’s usually the last piece of the puzzle to get solved, too. Balancing the budget each session is one of the most challenging tasks the legislative body takes on; agencies, members of the public and the Governor all have requests and priorities for the state’s piggy bank. Our industry is no different. We aren’t making any specific asks for General Fund dollars but we do closely follow the budget hearings of several agencies and the...

  • Opening the 2019 Mont. Legislative Session

    Chelcie Cargill, Montana Farm Bureau Federation|Jan 16, 2019

    The 66th Montana Legislature convened Monday, Jan.7, in Helena. While the session is still in its infancy, committees are beginning to meet and legislators are introducing their first bills of the term. We’ve hit the ground running. If you read our last column, you’re already familiar with these important Legislative committees. This is where issues surface and begin the legislative process. Here are some key agriculture issues that were introduced in committee this week. House Bill 63: Remove sunset date to extend financial liability for...

  • Tracking Down the Decision Makers

    Chelcie Cargill, Montana Farm Bureau Federation|Jan 9, 2019

    You’ve heard the expression, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” We know this is true. In the life of an idea becoming legislation, there are a few key people that you need to know in order to make your voice for agriculture most effective. In last week’s column, we talked about the importance of using this time before the 2019 Montana Legislature goes into session to “prep the soil” and get to know your local elected officials. While it is important to have a relationship with your own legislators, they may not be on t...

  • Ag Advocates: Be There for Your Lawmakers

    Chelcie Cargill, Montana Farm Bureau Federation|Jan 2, 2019

    The Montana Legislature is set to convene Jan. 7, in Helena. Similar to the 2017 session, the state’s budget is set to experience another round of belt tightening. Money will be tight, but the policy agendas will be plentiful. Legislators will be forced to make tough decisions between balancing a realistic budget and potentially slashing programs and policies or making law changes to accomplish that. A tight budget year makes the job of lobbying for Montana’s farm and ranch families challenging. Our top priority will be protecting existing...