Sen. Tester Helps Increase Montana Trade Opportunities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Sen. Tester Helps Increase Montana Trade Opportunities

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BOZEMAN - Montana U.S. Senator Jon Tester has been pushing a new agreement on organic certification between the United States and Korea for about a year. Now, his efforts are paying off. This is good news for the Treasure state, which boasts the country’s largest organic acreage.

Tester, an organic farmer himself, has been known to do what he can when it comes to Montana farmers. Thanks to his efforts, a new agreement between the U.S. and Korea is now in place that will increase trade opportunities for producers here, in Montana.

"For our organic producers, it is an important deal any time you can make U.S. products more attractive to over-seas buyers and to over-seas consumers, that is a very good thing," said, MSU Professor of EconomicsVincent Smith.

Under the new agreement, the Republic of Korea adopts U.S. organic standards, which, in turn, will allow U.S. producers to sell products in their markets.

Smith said, "It is a very good thing to have harmonization of standards when those standards are based on good science, as is the case with organic standards in the U.S."

U.S. organic producer's estimates show that exports to South Korea equal close to $35 million a year. Many organic farmers say they believe that the Korean market is one that the U.S. needs to be a part of.

"Think it is important for the future. The growth of organic agriculture products in Montana is growing rapidly, and we're looking at creating more jobs and business and keeping money in Montana," said Melvin Brown, who is an organic farmer.

The Senator said in a statement, "This agreement reduces red tape so that American farmers and ranchers can continue to feed families around the world." Tester's efforts were applauded by many Montanans.

"It is an excellent and very useful move that the Senator has made, and the outcome is very positive particularly for Montana organic producers." Smith said.

Organic farmers across the state have been pleased with the senator's efforts as well and look forward to utilizing this new agreement.

Brown said, "I’m just happy that the senator, Congress, the government got together and signed an agreement with South Korea and look forward to great things in the future."

The industry of organic farming has grown over recent years. There's an estimated 18,000 organic businesses nationwide.

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