by Suzanne Potter, Public News Service – MT
GREAT FALLS, Mont. – With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the Montana Farmers Union is launching a multimedia campaign asking everyone to Thank a Farmer or Rancher.
The idea is to get people thinking about the issues that face Montana's 28,000 farms and ranches, as well as the products they produce.
Lyndsay Bruno, communications coordinator for the Montana Farmers Union, says it's crucial to encourage more young people to go into agriculture.
“The average age of a farmer is 59 years old,” she explains. “Therefore, we need to make sure that we replenish the farmers that are going to retire. Agriculture is still the number one industry in our state.”
In 2014, Montana agriculture contributed $2 billion to the U.S. economy.
Paul Kanning started farming wheat and lentils three years ago in Flaxville. He says access to capital and land are always difficult, but he's thankful for all the educational programs and loans available to farmers who are just starting out.
“I think from the federal side, they've done a lot of great things,” he states. “Farm policy is really good. They've done a lot over the last 10 years to really expand opportunities for beginning farmers.”
The Farmers Union is also pushing for a bill to encourage voluntary country-of-origin labeling, which the group hopes will lead consumers to choose more locally-grown food.
Source: Public News Service – MT