This week I introduced a joint resolution in the Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee that would designate the first week of April as “Montana Soil Health Week” and the first Wednesday of April as “Montana Soil Health Day.”
Agriculture is our No. 1 industry in Montana. Agriculture provides jobs and brings billions of dollars in products and services to our economy and communities. The success of the agriculture industry is dependent on having and maintaining healthy soils. The Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines soil health as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans. Healthy soils are responsible for providing productive grazing, bountiful crops, clean air, and diverse wildlife and landscapes.
Recognizing our soil as an essential natural resource is paramount in the production of healthy agriculture commodities. During testimony I was impressed by the support of MSU, the schools, community clubs and the public in general. Thank you.
I also just submitted a follow-up bill to SB98, a bill I introduced in the last legislative session. This bill is a step toward getting the grizzly bears off of the Endangered Species List. The grizzly bear has been on the Endangered Species List for 48 years — the numbers are fully recovered, and I’m proud to say the grizzly bear population is flourishing. The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks department has shown great leadership in managing the ever-increasing number of grizzly bears. I believe it is time to move forward on the delisting process.
The sessions are lively with so much to do. Until next time, thank you for the opportunity to be your senator in District 9.
State Sen. Bruce "Butch" Gillespie, a Republican, serves the Ninth District of the Montana Senate.
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