Montana Stockgrowers Association

The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit membership organization, has worked on behalf of Montana’s cattle ranching families since 1884. Our mission is to protect and enhance Montana ranch families’ ability to grow and deliver safe, healthy, environmentally wholesome beef to the world.

USDA Adds New Tools, Resources to Farmers.gov to Aid Producers

Agricultural producers have new resources available to them to prepare for and recover from the impacts of natural disasters on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new website, farmers.gov. The site has updated tools and information to help agricultural producers identify the right programs and make decisions for their operations.

“Agriculture is a risky business,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “At USDA, we’re here to help you prepare, recover, and build long-term resilience to natural disasters. Whether you want to visit your local USDA service center or visit our new farmers.gov, we want to help you get the help you need.”

New additions to the site – being built for farmers, by farmers – include a farmers.gov portal for secure business transactions and a disaster assistance discovery tool. The discovery tool walks producers through five questions to help them identify personalized results of what USDA disaster assistance programs meet their needs. The farmers.gov portal is the first edition of a secure dashboard for producers to manage program applications and other USDA documents.

These resources are in addition to other currently available through Farmers.gov, including:

  • Our mobile-friendly Service center locator, connecting users with USDA assistance at the location nearest them,
  • Information about the new 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program, which provides disaster payments to producers to offset losses from hurricanes and wildfires during 2017,
  • Routinely updated farmers.gov blog where producers can read stories about other farmers across the nation containing insight into how other producers address challenges in running successful agricultural operations,
  • A soil health webpage, where producers can read about the soil health management practices offered by USDA, and
  • An online playbook, where people can track the latest developments of the site.

“USDA’s vision for farmers.gov is to provide farmers, ranchers and foresters with online self-service applications, educational materials, engagement opportunities and business tools,” Perdue said. “Our goal is to provide you, America’s farmers, with the best customer service, and this website is one of many ways we’re working to do so.”

USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Risk Management Agency are collaborating with partners in the government and private sector to build farmers.gov. Work began in fall 2017, and the site launched in 2018.

Montana Range Tour to highlight recovery from flood and fire, energy development on rangeland

The 2018 Montana Range Tour will feature a great lineup of ranches and farms showcasing conservation projects and creative solutions to common ranching issues; there will also be talks on topics such as grassland songbirds, oil development on grazing lands, and the recovery process following floods and wildfire. Also featured on the tour is a lunch stop to learn about Dry Prairie Rural Water, which is vital to life on the range in Eastern Montana.

This year’s tour will take participants around the Sidney and Culbertson areas on Sept. 5-6, 2018. A banquet with keynote speaker Steve Kenyon will take place on the evening of Sept. 5 at the Sidney Event Center in Sidney, Mont.

This year’s tour is sponsored by the Richland and Roosevelt Conservation Districts and the Montana Rangeland Resources Committee. For more details, including a full two-day agenda and registration details, visit http://dnrc.mt.gov/divisions/cardd/conservation-districts/rangeland-resource-program. Online registration is also available at www.eventbrite.com.

National Cattlemen’s Foundation Accepting Applications for W.D. Farr Scholarships

The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is now accepting applications for the W.D. Farr Scholarships for the 2018-19 school year. Two annual $15,000 grants will be awarded to outstanding graduate students who demonstrate superior achievement in academics and leadership and are committed to beef industry advancement. The awards will allow the students to further their study in fields that benefit the industry.

The scholarship was established by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation to honor the successful career of the late W.D. Farr. Farr, a third-generation Coloradan, pioneer rancher, statesman and banker was known for his extraordinary vision. His dedication to improving agriculture, livestock and water development has resulted in significant changes in farming methods that have influenced the practices of ranchers and farmers throughout the nation.

To apply for the scholarship, graduate students planning to pursue a career in the beef industry should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, description of applicant’s goals and experience, and statement of belief in the industry, as well as a review of the applicant’s graduate research and three letters of recommendation. Applications close at midnight on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. For more information and to apply, visit www.nationalcattlemensfoundation.org. All applications must be submitted online.

USDA Partners to Improve Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure in 23 States including Montana

New Partnerships Support More Prosperous Futures for More than 73,000 People

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett visited the state today to announce that USDA is investing more than $124 million (PDF, 155.4 KB) to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure in 23 states. Five projects in Louisiana are receiving funding.

“Modern, reliable water infrastructure provides a foundation for economic growth and prosperity,” Hazlett said. “USDA’s partnerships with rural communities underscore Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s commitment to ensuring that rural places have the infrastructure needed to thrive.”

USDA is providing the funding through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

Hazlett announced that the following projects in Louisiana will receive USDA funding:

  • The Poland Water Association, Inc. is receiving a $1 million loan and a $161,000 grant to construct two water wells. The booster station will be restored to service with a new chlorination facility and a pad-mounted natural gas generator to provide emergency power. The office building will be brought into compliance with the Architectural Barriers Act accessibility standard. Radio-read water meters will be installed to improve billing efficiency. The Poland Water Association, Inc. serves 909 customers in Rapides Parish.
  • The Alberta Water System, Inc. will use a $164,000 loan and a $1.5 million grant to construct an additional well. Water meters will be replaced with radio-read meters to reduce water loss. Carbon treatment systems will be added to both booster stations to mitigate disinfection byproducts. Generators will be added to both booster stations to provide emergency power supply. The Alberta Water System serves 1,858 customers in Bienville Parish. Additional funding includes a $30,000 Rural Development Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households grant and a $2,000 contribution from the water system.
  • The Lena Water System, Inc. will receive a $3 million loan to adjust the discharge pressure for the booster stations, construct two water wells and a ground storage tank with booster pumps, and install radio-read meters. The improvements will provide additional production and storage capacity to meet the System’s growing demand. Lena serves 1,185 customers in Rapides Parish.
  • The town of Delcambre will use a $291,000 loan and a $183,000 grant to upgrade water distribution lines that service residents in Vermilion Parish. Funds will also be used to install meters to prevent water loss. Delcambre’s water system serves approximately 762 residential customers and 70 commercial customers. In FY 2015, the project received a $1,722,000 USDA loan and a $1,179,220 USDA grant.
  • The Waterworks District No. 3 – Parish of St. Landry will receive a $500,000 loan to extend water lines under Three Mile Lake to serve the North Wilderness subdivision. The Water District currently serves 154 customers. The project will enable it to extend services to 116 new customers within St. Landry Parish.

Below are examples of other infrastructure projects across the nation that USDA is helping to support.

  • In Nettleton, Miss., the Cason Water District is receiving a $2.1 million loan and a $1.9 million grant to install surface water transmission lines from the Northeast Mississippi Water Supply District to the Cason Water District. A booster station, an elevated storage tank and larger distribution lines will also be installed. This project will correct water supply loss and accommodate future growth. The improvements will provide improved water service to 1,657 customers.
  • McLouth, Kan., is receiving a $1.3 million loan to improve the city’s water infrastructure. The project will replace approximately 9,400 feet of pipe and 4,100 feet of antiquated service line. In addition, 420 old water meters will be replaced with automatic meter readers and control panels at the water treatment facility. The upgrade will serve more than 860 residents.
  • The town of Black Oak, Ark., will use a $687,000 loan and a $1.9 million grant to construct a wastewater collection system for the town and the surrounding rural area. The new collection system will serve 135 residents. Most of the individual septic systems are malfunctioning. A public wastewater system that meets current health and sanitary standards also will be constructed.

The funding that USDA is announcing today will benefit communities in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia.

In FY 2018, Congress provided a historic level of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.8 billion in FY 2017. The bill also directs Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.

Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. They can visit the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

MDA to Hold Waste Pesticide Disposal Events in September

Annual events have collected over 586,860 lbs. of waste pesticides

Helena, Mont. – The Montana Department of Agriculture’s annual Pesticide Disposal Events will be held in several locations across Montana during September. The collection events will be held September 18 in Havre; September 19 in Great Falls; September 20 in Bozeman; and September 21 in Columbus.  The annual events have collected more than 586,860 pounds of waste pesticides since it began in 1994.

The program was designed to help individuals dispose of any pesticides that are unusable as originally intended and cannot be used for any other purpose.  This allows participants to dispose of waste pesticides in an environmentally responsible way and helps protect Montana’s ecosystems and groundwater, as well as families, pets, livestock and drinking water.

The department asks that participants pre-register by September 10, 2018, before the collection events, so products can be managed safely and efficiently. Licensed pesticide applicators will receive information and a registration form in the mail. Others with waste pesticides in need of disposal can learn more and register on the program’s website.

There is no charge for the first 200 pounds of material.  Amounts over 200 pounds are assessed at $0.50 per pound. A higher fee may apply to pesticides with dioxins or dioxin precursors.

The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries. For more information on the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit agr.mt.gov.

 

Source: Montana Department of Agriculture

Tester Sponsors Bill to Protect Montana Livestock Sellers

Bipartisan SALE Act will Provide Extra Support for Ranchers at the Auction Yard

 

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is working with his colleagues across the aisle to protect Montana ranchers when they go to auction their livestock.

When heading to the auction yard, livestock sellers are dealt the short straw because if a dealer defaults on their payment to a seller, it is the bank who collects the collateral and the seller is left with nothing. That’s why Tester is sponsoring the Securing All Livestock Equitably (SALE) Act to ensure Montana ranchers aren’t left empty-handed if their buyers fail to make a timely payment.

“Montana’s ranchers deserve better,” Tester said. “They shouldn’t be risking their livelihood every time they head to the auction block.  It’s important that both parties put politics aside and work together to fix this broken system to give sellers security when they go to sell their livestock.”

The SALE Act requires all livestock purchased by dealers to be held in trust for the sellers until full payment is received.  It also ensures that the sellers, not the banks, retain the right to the traded assets if the dealer defaults on a payment.

This trust would not apply to small dealers with purchases of less than $250,000 annually and may be waived by written agreement between dealer and seller.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, the American Farm Bureau, and the Livestock Marketing Association have all expressed their support for Tester’s legislation.

“The Dealer Statutory Trust is the most commonsense legislation I’ve come across in a long time,” said Joe Goggins, owner of Public Auction Yards and Northern Livestock Video Auction in Billings. “We appreciate Sen. Tester’s support of the bill. It’s only fair and right that the unpaid sellers of livestock have priority over the lenders, and their customers that did not pay for the livestock. It’s also only fair and right that a person who has been paid in good faith during the 90 days prior to a dealer’s filing bankruptcy should not be forced to pay that money to the bankruptcy trustee.”

This bill will provide a much-needed safety net for Montana’s ranchers when taking their livestock to auction.

Tester’s SALE Act is available HERE.

Source: Senator Tester Press Release

First Confirmed Equine Case of West Nile Virus in Montana for 2018

Helena, Mont. – The Montana Department of Livestock has received the first reported cases of equine West Nile Virus in Montana for 2018 in Musselshell and Lake Counties. This follows the detection of the virus in mosquito surveillance pools from Cascade, Hill, and Lewis and Clark Counties. Montana typically sees cases of West Nile Virus through late summer and into fall.

West Nile Virus affects humans, equines, and birds. It is spread through the bites of infected mosquitos; horses cannot transmit the virus directly to people. Detections of the disease in horses and mosquitos in Montana serve as an important reminder for people to take steps to prevent West Nile Virus infection.

“There is no direct treatment for the virus in horses, but vaccination is highly effective in preventing disease. Horses that are vaccinated rarely die or are euthanized because of the disease,” said Dr. Tahnee Szymanski, Assistant State Veterinarian.  “Vaccination is typically administered in the spring but may offer some protection even this late in the season. Work with your veterinarian to determine if your horse could still benefit from vaccination.”

Horse owners should be aware of the typical signs of West Nile Virus which include:

  • Fever, loss of appetite and depression;
  • Incoordination or weakness of the hind limbs;
  • Muscle or muzzle twitching, drooling.

In the meantime, topical insecticides and eliminating standing water may help decrease your horse’s exposure to mosquitos. The mosquitos that carry West Nile Virus are most active at dawn and dusk, so consider keeping your horses off of irrigated pastures and away from water sources during those times of the day.

The mission of the DOL is to control and eradicate animal diseases, prevent the transmission of animal diseases to humans, and to protect the livestock industry from theft and predatory animals. For more information on the department, visit www.liv.mt.gov.

Montana CattleWomen host Ranch Run

CattleWomen host run to highlight the importance of agriculture and land stewardship

Join the Montana CattleWomen for their 4thannual ranch run on Saturday, August 25thin Lennep, Montana. Registration begins at 8 am and the race starts at 9 am.  This scenic  25-mile run is designed to showcase the importance of agriculture and land stewardship to the running community.  The course can be run solo or with a team of 2-5 members.  Parts of the course are challenging so have your teammates read through and choose appropriate leg assignments.  For a team of five, the cost is $35 per person or $50 to run solo. Runners will receive a t-shirt and enjoy a delicious meal, featuring beef, served the Montana CattleWomen at the end of the race. Visit www.themontanaranchrun.com to register.

The course extends through three-multi generation ranches, as well as US National Forest, and runs deep into the heart of the Castle Mountains.  The ranch run has five legs, all approximately five miles long, but the course is such that it can be run solo OR with a team of 2-5 members.  The closest lodging is in Harlowton or White Sulphur Springs or camp at the race site. Teams will need a high-clearance vehicle to drive on the course.  Prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place teams.

This year’s generous sponsors include the Montana Beef Council, The Montana CattleWomen, Northwest Montana Keller Williams Realty, the Montana Stockgrowers Foundation, Montana Land Reliance, Western Ranch Supply, Rabo AgriFinance, Montana T-Bone CattleWomen, the Central Montana CattleWomen, Rangeland Resources Executive Committee, the Montana DNRC.  For more information or any questions, contact Kari Berg Marks at (406) 572-3316 or email at ckmarks@mtintouch.net.

Montana Ranch Honored for Outstanding Environmental Stewardship

The Hahn Ranch, in Townsend, Mont., has been selected as one of six regional honorees of the Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). The award, announced during the 2018 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting Aug. 1, 2018, recognizes the operation’s outstanding stewardship and conservation efforts. This year’s regional winners will compete for the national award, which will be announced during the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans, La., in February 2019.

Established in 1991 by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to recognize outstanding land stewards in the cattle industry, ESAP is generously sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, McDonald’s, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.

“Cattlemen and women everywhere understand that the land, air and water resources in their care are the cornerstone of their success and they are only stewards of those resources for a short time,” said NCBA President Kevin Kester. “Each of us understands the importance of improving those resources and leaving them better for future generations. This year’s nominees are outstanding examples of what is possible for the beef industry and they serve as an inspiration for producers everywhere to continue improving their stewardship practices.”

Operated by the Hahn family, the Hahn Ranch raises 550 cattle across nearly 28,000 acres of public and private land and has been doing so for nearly a century. Today multiple family members work together on the Hahn Ranch.

“I’m the third generation on the ranch,” Chuck Hahn said, “and my sons are the fourth. The fifth generation is coming up with nieces and nephews.”

With fewer than 12 inches of rain each year, the Hahns have installed more efficient irrigation systems and have added new stock water tanks to allow them to fence their cattle out of riparian zones.

“We’re looking at ways to maintain water quality in those watersheds to maintain a healthy ecosystem and also to do things to improve the streambank health,” said Dusty Hahn, Chuck’s son and the fourth generation on the ranch.

The Hahn family was also part of the restoration of Deep Creek, the Missouri river tributary that crosses the Hahn Ranch. The family worked with private and public partners to install the Montana ditch siphon, rerouting irrigation water under instead of through the creek, reducing sediment issues, improved water flow, and allowed fish to return.

“Immediately after that project was done, we started having fish move up from the Missouri river into Deep Creek here to start spawning,” said Ron Spoon, a fisheries biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

“There’s more grass on the range units due to the rotational grazing system that the Hahns are implementing, getting stock water away from the creeks and the springs so those areas can be left for wildlife with less livestock impacts,” said Justin Meissner, a district conservationist with USDA NRCS.

The Hahn Ranch also grows wheat, barley and hay crops, extending the grazing season to allow for longer rest periods on the range. Additionally, reduced tillage and cover crop rotations have had a positive impact on soil health.

“I want to do things better and leave the land in a better condition than I found it for the next generation who will hopefully take as good or better care of it than we have,” said Dusty.