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Agritourism Bill May Bring Money to Montana

Agritourism Bill May Bring Money to Montana

4/20/2017 6:41:00 AM/Categories: General News, Today's Top 5, People in Ag, Livestock, Ag Issues

Montana Kaimin reports: 

Agriculture is consistently Montana’s top industry, according to the most recent United States Department of Agriculture report, but there is growing discontent within the community. Farmers and ranchers get back 16 cents of every dollar they invest in their trade, one study by the American Farm Bureau Federation found. In 1980, it was 31 cents.

That’s why Montana farmers and ranchers have been pushing for House Bill 342, signed into law on March 31, 2017. The bill adds agritourism to a list of recreational activities in which participants must legally accept liability for all inherent risk. The new bill protects farmers and ranchers who are looking for more money-making options.

The bill gives legal security to farmers looking to host school field trips, curious tourists and farm-to-table meals. The Montana Farmers Union lobbied heavily for the bill, citing educational and economic opportunities as major benefits to Montanans.

“Agritourism has the potential to help Montana’s farmers and ranchers add diversity to their operation and earn added revenue to support their farm or ranch,” said MFU President Alan Merrill in a press release. “There is great opportunity for youth particularly to learn about where their food comes from and to see the work that goes into producing local food.”

The agritourism bill was presented in conjunction with two other bills that are aiming to increase ranch and farm incomes, Food Safety News reported. The cottage food bill and the raw milk bill, which would allow the sale of homemade foods and unpasteurized milk respectively, have not been as successful. The cottage food bill has been tabled and the raw milk bill is “probably dead,” according to the state’s website.


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Source:  Montana Kaimin


Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS



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