The Legislative session is underway in Helena and the Long-Range Building Program (House Bill 14) is up for a vote. This includes support for the Montana Ag Experiment Stations to build new stations and the MSU Wool Lab to update facilities.
Montana ranks eighth in the nation for wool production with 200,000 head of sheep and lambs, producing one and a half million pounds of wool in 2019. Montana wool is the highest value agriculture commodity on a per-ton basis. The Montana Wool Lab helped many producers double the value of their wool prices by providing analytical testing of breeding stock and helping producers develop flocks that have the highest quality wool.
New facilities for the Montana Ag Experiment Stations and the MSU Wool Lab are critically needed. Some of the facilities are woefully outdated, and most lack adequate space and up-to-date safety measures. The new labs will increase our ability to conduct cutting-edge agricultural research that benefits a wide range of Montanans and state businesses. No commercial wool testing labs remain in the United States, and only Montana and Texas still have viable university wool labs to conduct research.
These updates can offer Montana a significant competitive advantage and keep work right here at home. If you support this funding request for our ag industry, please send an email this week to your legislators letting them know.