Lawmakers in Helena will consider a bill that would strip local governments’ authority to regulate the agricultural industry with the aim of providing consistency for farming techniques across the state. Senate Bill 155 would mean any regulations dealing with agricultural processes or seed usage would have to come from the state.
A similar bill was passed by the Oregon legislature in 2013 after a county’s initiative on a ballot banned GMOs in that area. Representative for Montana Farm Bureau Federation Chelcie Cargill says it’s common for Montana farmers to have land spanned out across county lines.
"Being subject to regulation that varies county, by county, by county, makes it really difficult for them to operate in each individual county and becomes pretty burdensome and cost prohibitive to those farm and ranch families in Montana,” Cargill says.
The Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee hears the bill Thursday.
Freddy Monares is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.