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Cooney: Grow Montana, create good jobs

Mike Cooney

Here in Montana, production agriculture is a way of life.

From Sidney to Havre, folks all across our state make a living working the land day-in and day-out to support their families and put food on our tables.

My great-grandfather was one of those men – a rancher, he registered the very first brand in the Montana system, the square and compass.

Scratching out a living in production agriculture back then wasn’t easy, and it still isn’t today. But between a changing climate, low commodity prices, and a disastrous trade war, ag producers in our state are being squeezed like never before.

Make no mistake – when our state’s number one industry suffers, Montana suffers. The men and women who feed America deserve better.

As a fourth-generation Montanan, I’m committed to ensuring a brighter future for agriculture in our state.

My vision for Growing Montana includes common sense solutions that will bring good-paying jobs to rural Montana, help stem the tide of farm consolidation, give ranchers a leg up in international markets, and make sure Montana’s ag producers don’t get left behind.

I will work to increase the percentage of funding for the Growth Through Agriculture Program – through the Coal Severance Tax Fund – to help Montana producers create more good-paying manufacturing jobs through value-added agriculture.

I will fight to reinstate Country of Origin Labeling for beef and pork products to give Montana ranchers – who produce the best meat in the world – a leg up, and I’ll provide for an extension of the Made in Montana and Grown in Montana brand to meat products.

And I will push to ensure farmers and ranchers always have the right to repair their own equipment, instead of being forced to rely on overpriced dealer-authorized repair shops, saving time and money on costly repairs.

Folks like my opponent seem to think that the food at the grocery store just magically appears on the shelves.

It doesn’t.

There are families and communities behind every bag of flour you buy and every cut of beef you eat, and as your next governor I will make sure the hardworking farmers and ranchers who raise the world’s finest beef, wheat, barley and lentils have the support they need to thrive for generations to come.

Our Montana way of life depends on it.

Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, Democratic candidate for Governor