It was a hot, dry, and challenging season in many respects for Montana’s ag communities.
The sugar beet harvest was a bright spot. I am pleased to see that we had a near-record sugar beet crop in 2017. Montana continues to produce high grade sugar beets, and we can all be proud of a harvest that again contributed nearly $100 million to the state’s economy.
In order to feed a growing world the greatest products Montana has to offer, we must continue to enhance and advance the agricultural industry. Many of our farmers have diversified, not just with the crops they raise, but also in the way they raise those crops.
This diversification has helped the industry stay on the right track, even with recent declines in prices and significant drought conditions.
It is vitally important that we continue to lead the nation in pulse crop production. I had the honor of signing into law a new tax incentive for the construction and operation of pulse crop processing plants in Montana, so that our producers can continue to innovate and be at the forefront of the agriculture industry.
Research has proven to be incredibly important to agriculture. Whether it’s finding a seed variety that will do well in a certain area, or researching new ways to plant and harvest, we must continue to invest in these projects. This research can also help us all to be better prepared for extreme weather, new pest and disease outbreaks, or changing global markets. And as technology, from drones to big data to precision agriculture, plays an ever-increasing role in how we grow and produce our foods, we have greater opportunities to increase yields and efficiencies.
Much like the agricultural industry, Montana’s economy continues to strengthen and diversify. High-tech businesses attracted to our state and quality of life are providing high-wage jobs for Montana families.
Our unemployment rate remains below the national level and more Montanans are at work than ever before in our state’s history. Wage growth in Montana is among the highest in the nation. We also lead the nation in manufacturing growth.
Agriculture posted employment gains over the last year, with the fastest payroll employment growth over the last five years. Our farmers and ranchers continue to provide an economic base that is so critical to Montana’s overall economic health.
My administration remains committed to expanding opportunities domestically and abroad for Montana’s producers. We have had some great successes with market development for a variety of commodities, and just last week the Montana Department of Agriculture was awarded a grant to continue market development for our world-class beef genetics.
As Montanans increasingly look to shop and eat locally, we continue to look toward enhancing and increasing the use of locally-grown and Grown in Montana products within the state.
Thank you to all of Montana’s sugar beet farmers. Your hard work will ensure that sugar beets remain a vibrant crop in our state. We are both excited and optimistic about the future of our state as Montana’s agricultural industry continues to be a primary driver of the economy and of our communities.
Sugar Beet News |
via Sidney Herald http://ift.tt/2gBXmz6
January 31, 2018 at 09:54AM