Walt Sales speaks up for future generations of farmers

After Gallatin County Commissioner Steve White voted No on the county Open Space bond resolution on Aug. 8, we felt we needed to give credit to Rep. Walt Sales – a Republican representing the Amsterdam and Manhattan area – who spoke in favor of the bond.

Commissioner White said at the meeting that he didn’t want the $15 million Open Space bond on the same ballot as the county’s Law and Justice Center bond.

Sales said that after his first legislative session in Helena this year, he recognized that Montana and Gallatin County keep many balls in the air — and we can’t only keep one up and let all the others fall.

“This shouldn’t be an us-versus-them issue,” he said.

He also kept to the basics: Agriculture belongs in Gallatin County, and we need to make sure our kids can still have a place to farm and ranch here in the future.

“I hate to say it, but it’s getting harder and harder for us at home — and I am one of those ag producers — to be able to move that land, that lifestyle, into the hands of the next generation,” he told the commission.

He said that conservation easements are an option for preserving that lifestyle.

“It’s not the only option, but it’s one that will designate the character of our valley in two more generations,” he said.

Sales brought up a lot of our same concerns. If we don’t create options today, how do we plan on minimizing development on ag land in the fastest growing county in the state? If we don’t make it easier for our kids to stay on the land now, how will we transition it to them in the future?

So thank you, Rep. Sales. We need people thinking about what’s ahead for Gallatin Valley, and we appreciate that you are.

Andie Creel 

You can listen to Rep. Sales’s entire comment here. It begins at 88:00.