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Montana Organic Farmer Jon Tester Elected to United States Senate

From: International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements
Bonn, Germany, November 10th 2006

 Organic Farmer Jon Tester Elected to United States Senate

 Bonn, Germany, November 10th 2006 — Jon Tester, an organic farmer and leader in the organic movement since 1987, has been elected as a U.S. Senator from the state of Montana. A third generation farmer from Big Sandy, Montana, he has been farming organically for nearly twenty years.

In 2005, Tester and his wife Sharla were named outstanding agricultural leaders by the College of Agriculture at Montana State University. Their T-Bone Farms is a diversified organic operation with 1400 acres (567 hectares).

The stated goals of their operation are:
To produce high quality food;
To use environmentally sound farming practices ;
To improve soil health on their farm; and
To keep the farm in their family.
Their crops this year included hard red wheat, hard white wheat, kamut, lentils, and purple barley. Tester is a strong believer in green manures, a type of cover crop grown to be plowed under and incorporated into the soil, adding natural sources of nitrogen and phosphorous, not to mention improving and protecting the soil.

Tester has been a leader in the organic movement for more than a decade. He served as the national treasurer for the Organic Crop Improvement Association International, and helped to develop the Montana Organic Certification program.

Bob Quinn, an organic farmer and President of Kamut International, said "We all started in organic farming nearly 20 years ago in north-central Montana, and since that time Jon Tester has been a great supporter of sustainable and Organic Agriculture - not only on  his farm, but also while he was serving at the Montana State Senate. I'm sure he'll be a strong voice for sustainable and Organic Agriculture in the U.S. Senate as well, as someone who has learned it by experience." He added "We are extremely happy as an organic community" that Tester has been elected to the U.S. Senate. They have been neighbors and friends for 30 years.

According to Thomas B. Harding, former IFOAM President, colleague of Jon Tester and Director of Agrisystems International, "Jon Tester, now U.S. Senator Elect Jon Tester, is an extraordinary man - one who walks his talk, an excellent organic farmer, dedicated to the family farmer, the farm community and to Organic Agriculture in general.  He sees the big picture and he will make a very great difference to all of us as he meets his elected responsibilities in the U.S. Senate.  How lucky we are to have a man like Jon in our community."

IFOAM Executive Director Angela B. Caudle praised the election of Jon Tester. "IFOAM looks forward to working with Senator Elect Tester to develop and promote Organic Agriculture both in the United States and internationally" she said. "His  understanding of soil ecology and the economics of organic production systems will undoubtedly bring a fresh perspective to the U.S. Senate and contribute to the establishment of more sustainable agricultural programs."

IFOAM is the international umbrella organization of organic agriculture movements worldwide.

IFOAM’s mission is leading, uniting and assisting the organic movement in its full diversity.

Our goal is the worldwide adoption of ecologically, socially and economically sound systems that are based on the Principles of Organic Agriculture.

 IFOAM Press Release, Responsible: Angela B. Caudle, Contact: Neil Sorensen

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