International trade and the 2007 farm bill along with health insurance, affordable energy and the estate tax are key issues facing the 110th Congress when it convenes next month, members of the Montana delegation said Thursday during the Montana Stockgrowers Association meeting. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who addressed the morning general meeting via a video, promised to keep the pressure on Japan and Korea to accept U.S. beef exports. “Unless Korea is totally open,” Baucus said he would oppose a free trade agreement being negotiated with South Korea. Baucus said he would continue to push for federal disaster aid for agricultural interests hurt by drought and fire. A $4.5 billion proposal was opposed by the Bush administration and by Republican leaders in both the House and Senate. Sen.-elect Jon Tester, D-Mont., said food security and the well-being of family farmers and ranchers are important to him, along with affordable energy. He said affordable health care and health insurance are also important. In writing the 2007 farm bill, Tester said ensuring competition in the marketplace would put more money in the pockets of producers. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., will be in the minority for the first time since he was elected in 2000. But he said he will continue to work on issues such as the elimination of the estate tax. He also said he would support legislation to allow associations such as the MSGA to work with similar groups in other states to form health insurance pools. Rehberg said he would also continue to fight for country-of-original labeling for meat. But Rehberg said funding for earmarks in the 2007 federal budget “was gone.” The prospective Democratic chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have indicated they intend to suspend all earmarks in the 2007 budget and readdress them in the next budgeting cycle. Programs funded by earmarks include the Montana Beef Network at Montana State University in Bozeman. The Montana Beef Network assists ranchers in providing for traceability of beef animals through an individual animal identification system.