Montana senator and wheat farmer Jon Tester is firing back after President Trump mocked the role of wheat in trade with Japan. 

Wheat and barley fields south of Manhattan, Montana, April 27, 2019.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

Farming is always a gamble in Montana, but this year a new tariff on wheat and an undefined trade deal with Japan means more uncertainty for farmers as they plant this spring. President Trump discussed agricultural trade negotiations last week with the prime minister of Japan — Montana’s largest importer of wheat. The talk comes two years after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

KAMUT wheat plant
Forest and Kim Starr / Flickr

Big Sandy farmer Bob Quinn was a child in the mid-1960s when a stranger at a county fair gave him a few kernels of an unusual grain that changed his life in ways he describes in his new book, Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs and Healthy Food. He wrote the book with Stanford University lecturer Liz Carlisle.

Yellowstone Public Radio’s Sarah Brown sat down with Quinn to talk about what modern farming of ancient grains means for the environment, the economy and the eater.

Field Days: Wheat Delivery

Jun 18, 2018
Matt Brown

On this episode of Field Days, Stillwater County farmer Phil Davey delivers the last of 2017's wheat crop.

Neha Viswanathan / Flickr Creative Commons

Montana farmers planted fewer acres of wheat this year than they have in the past, thanks to significantly lower prices last year for the crop.

This year’s crop across the country is just under 46 million acres, the smallest since 1919.

The U.S Senate Monday confirmed Sonny Perdue as secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture . USDA oversees ag and forest policies directly affecting rural states like Montana.

Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez / MSU

An international team of scientists is a step closer to producing higher protein, better quality wheat and barley.   That’s a potential boon for Montana’s beleaguered farmers, hit by commodity prices so low in recent years many are wondering how they’re going to survive.

It all starts with Dr. Hikmet Budak, Montana State University’s first Plant Sciences Endowed Chair.  His endowed chair is the highest academic award a university can bestow on a faculty member.