Rep. Denny Rehberg released the following statement about the Aug. 27 crash and today's charges against state Sen. Greg Barkus:
I was surprised to learn the results of Greg’s blood alcohol test. He didn’t appear to be impaired to me when we got on the boat for the return trip to Big Fork. There is, of course, a presumption of innocence in our system of justice and the charges made today by the prosecutors are now in the hands of the Court. I’ll continue to provide whatever information I can to the authorities. My thoughts and prayers remain with Dustin, Kristin, Kathy, Greg and their families.
For what it's worth, his office came out with this release two hours later:
Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg today announced funding in the final Agriculture Appropriations Bill which will now go to President Obama for his signature. Rehberg is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
“Agriculture remains Montana’s largest and most important industry,” said Rehberg. “As a rancher, I understand the challenges facing Montana’s producers and I’m proud to fight for their interests in Congress.”
The projects are listed below:
Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) $2,800,000 Butte - Silver Bow County
The National Committee for Appropriate Technology is a national nonprofit organization located in Butte. It has more than 30 years of experience in helping people learn more about technologies and practices that save energy and resources in the home, farm workplace and community.
Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) provides information, educational resources and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers across the U.S., with a special focus on sustainable ag technologies, farm energy, and information on marketing and adding value to farm products. In Montana last year, ranchers and farmers from 72 communities submitted 3,091 individual requests for technical assistance and downloaded 44,896 publications off the ATTRA website. Funding for this project will be spent on salaries for staff who provide in-person educational presentations at state, regional and national meetings as well as other related costs.
“The National Committee for Appropriate Technology was delighted to learn that the House Agriculture Appropriations Committee has provided funding for our Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas Project (ATTRA),” said Kathleen Hadley, the organization’s Executive Director. “The staff and board of NCAT are grateful to Congressman Rehberg, who worked hard to help obtain funding for our national program.”
Animal Biosciences Facility (MSU) $3,654,000, Bozeman - Gallatin County
The construction of an Animal Biosciences Research Facility will benefit Montana’s livestock industry. This state-of-the-art facility will help improve economic and environmental sustainability in the production of safe, high quality and consistent beef products. Rehberg secured $2.192 million for this project last year.
“I appreciate the support of Congressman Rehberg and his effort toward ag research and education, in particular the range-livestock industry,” said Jeff Jacobsen, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Agricultural Experiment Station. “The federal building monies bring us that much closer to construction of the USDA ARS building which will be ‘catching up’ to the MSU academic building currently being built through private donations. This partnership will create untold developments for the Montana seedstock industry and the livestock industry in general.”
Barley for Rural Development $547,000 Bozeman - Gallatin County
Funding for Barley for Rural Development supports research directed at improving malt, feed, biofuel, and food barley varieties for growers and value added end-users in rural communities in Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. As U.S. barley production declines, development research creates new technologies for increasing yields and improving the quality of the barley crop thus, enhancing competitiveness and improving profitability.
“Wheat and barley production systems in Montana, Idaho and North Dakota are changing more rapidly than ever before, said professor Tom Blake from Montana State University. “Thanks to the support of Representatives Rehberg (MT) and Simpson (ID), the ‘Barley for Rural Development’ project enables researchers in these three key barley producing states to develop and release new barley varieties for food, malt, livestock feed and for straw-based ethanol production. These new varieties improve barley growers’ profitability and help maintain barley’s position in American agriculture.”
Brucellosis Vaccine $305,000, Bozeman - Gallatin County
The presence of Brucellosis in the wildlife of Yellowstone National Park poses a continuous threat to livestock production in the states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. Recent outbreaks of brucellosis and the loss of Montana’s brucellosis-free status underscore the need for an effective brucellosis vaccine. This appropriation will have a tremendously positive impact on Montana’s cattle and tourism industries by funding MSU Bozeman’s efforts to find a brucellosis vaccine that protects both wildlife and cattle.
“Vaccine development takes time and we have made good advancements in creating new vaccines with stronger efficacy than currently available ones,” said Jacobsen. “Better tools for disease management in wildlife, and livestock and humans will be the result.”
Sustainable Beef Supply $682,000, Bozeman - Gallatin County
The Montana Beef Network (MBN) helps Montana beef producers improve best-practices for raising and marketing their products. MBN also ages and source verifies calves from birth until harvest to ensure quality and increase profitability. This integrated approach to quality management helps Montana’s producers grow a sustainable beef supply to increase income for the individual and the State.
“Connecting ranch and livestock management practices to the entire meat supply chain with the customer, the consumer, in mind creates a modern and dynamic network,” said Jeff Jacobsen, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Agricultural Experiment Station. “Stewardship practices, quality assurance, biosecurity, animal ID, food security and other food system issues are researched, tested and outreach is provided tailored to each ranch.”
Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee $650,000, Helena - Lewis and Clark County (MT/ID/WY)
The Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee conducts brucellosis prevention, surveillance, control and herd management in Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Area. These activities mitigate the danger that brucellosis poses to Montana’s beef industry by detecting the disease in wildlife and preventing its spread to cattle. Working with state and federal jurisdictions, the ultimate objective of the GYIBC is to use sound science and factual information to eliminate transmission risks and eradicate the disease for healthy wildlife and livestock. The program officially began in 1995 with a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture and the Governors of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.
“Brucellosis funding in the greater Yellowstone area is vital as we work on the control and eventual eradication of this disease,” said Christian Mackay, with the Montana Department of Livestock. “We welcome these resources. They help fund our ongoing efforts, and demonstrate that Congress wants to be part of the solution.”
Other Montana Projects receiving funding include:
Tri-State (MT, ID, WY) Predator Control, Aphis $926,000
Invasive Plant Management at MSU $270,000
Upper Clark Fork Watershed, Watershed Restoration Coalition $200,000