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.

HAY LOTTERY WILL EXPAND INTO MONTANA, SOUTH DAKOTA

North Dakota’s hay lottery will expand to include Montana and South Dakota, with each state to conduct its own drawing beginning in early September.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring credited Ag Community Relief, a Michigan organization, and North Dakota State University for making the relief effort possible.

“We are pleased to open the hay lottery to producers in South Dakota and Montana experiencing drought and wildfire,” Goehring said. “Ag Community Relief, the Michigan organization arranging a large-scale hay donation convoy to North Dakota in mid-August, is fundraising and continues to seek donations and volunteers. We are so appreciative of their efforts. We are also grateful to NDSU for providing the space and staffing to store and distribute the donated hay.”

Greg Lardy, head of NDSU Animal Sciences Department, said the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station is ready to assist producers adversely affected by extreme drought or wildfires.

“We know livestock producers in this region are struggling to find adequate hay supplies for their livestock, and this program is one way we can help them,” he said.

Montana and South Dakota’s state agricultural directors were grateful to be included.

“Donations have been pouring in from throughout Montana to help folks affected by both drought and fire. These people are the unsung heroes of the disaster response and a reminder of how the worst of times can bring out the best in people,” Montana Department of Agriculture Director Ben Thomas said. “We are proud and grateful to join with Ag Community Relief and our friends in North and South Dakota to get more resources to those affected.”

South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Mike Jaspers agreed.

“With much of South Dakota experiencing drought conditions, the hay lottery is a great resource for producers looking for additional feed for livestock,” he said. “I appreciate Ag Community Relief, all the producers providing hay and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture for making this program possible.”

People wishing to donate hay or provide trucking services can contact the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s drought hotline at 701-425-8454 for details.

Hay will be distributed in semi-load lots, with the first drawing in early September. If there are additional donations after that date, more drawings will occur. The drawing has been divided into two age categories, 35 and under and 36 and up. Producers selected to receive hay must arrange their own transportation.

Producers in any of the three states who want to apply for the hay lottery can find an application for their state online at www.nd.gov/ndda. The deadline is Aug. 31.

To be eligible, a producer must be from a D2, D3, D4 or fire-affected county and own at least 25 animal unit equivalents of state-specific livestock. A list of eligible livestock and an explanation of equivalents is available on the relevant state’s application. The latest drought monitor information is online at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/.

Questions may be directed to 701-328-4764 or 844-642-4752.

Matt Schaller, president of Ag Community Relief, said the size of the area affected by the drought prompted the hay lottery approach.

“It’s just too hard to pick and choose who receives what hay we can bring,” he said. “This program will give everyone a little hope and let them know that farmers across America are thinking of them. We really hope to see hay come in from all over the Midwest to help those folks in their time of need.”

Source: Renee Jean, Williston Herald

USDA and SCORE Launch Innovative Mentorship Effort to Support New Farmers and Ranchers

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with officials from SCORE, the nation’s largest volunteer network of expert business mentors, to support new and beginning farmers. Today’s agreement provides new help resources for beginning ranchers, veterans, women, socially disadvantaged Americans and others, providing new tools to help them both grow and thrive in agri-business.

“Shepherding one generation to the next is our responsibility. We want to help new farmers, veterans, and people transitioning from other industries to agriculture,” said Secretary Perdue. “They need land, equipment, and access to capital, but they also need advice and guidance. That’s what SCORE is all about.”

SCORE matches business professionals and entrepreneurs with new business owners to mentor them through the process of starting-up and maintaining a new business. USDA and its partners across rural America are working with SCORE to support new farming and ranching operations, and identify and recruit mentors with a wealth of agricultural experience.

Secretary Perdue announced the new partnership in Des Moines during the Iowa Agriculture Summit. Perdue was joined by Steve Records, Vice-President of Field Operations for SCORE in signing a Memorandum of Understanding that will guide USDA and SCORE as they partner in the mentorship effort, which will soon expand to other states.

“SCORE’s mission to help people start and grow vibrant small businesses is boosted by this new partnership with USDA. America’s farmers, ranchers and agri-businesses will benefit from the business knowledge and expertise SCORE can offer,” said Records. “The partnership allows both SCORE and USDA to serve more people while providing America’s farmers added support to lead to more sound business operations, create profitable farms with sustainable growth and create new jobs. We are excited at the opportunity to extend SCORE’s impact to our farmers and the agriculture industry.”

SCORE mentors will partner with USDA and a wide array of groups already hard at work serving new and beginning farmers and ranchers, such as the FFA, 4-H, cooperative extension and land grant universities, nonprofits, legal aid groups, banks, technical and farm advisors. These partnerships will expand and integrate outreach and technical assistance between current and retired farmers and agri-business experts and new farmers.

This joint initiative leverages SCORE’s 10,000 existing volunteer mentors and USDA’s expertise and presence in agricultural communities to bring no-cost business mentoring to rural and agricultural entrepreneurs. This initiative will also be another tool to empower the work of many community-based organizations, cooperative extension and land grant universities working with beginning farmers in their communities. SCORE mentorship will also be available to current farmers and ranchers. Anyone interested in being a mentor can get more information and sign up on the USDA New Farmers’ website at https://newfarmers.usda.gov/mentorship.

Source: USDA

Montana Fire Relief: Updated Ways to Help

The Lodgepole Complex Fire is now at 93% containment.

Firefighters will continue fire repairs and mop-up. Command of the fire has been turned over to a local Type 3 organization.

Sixteen homes have been destroyed as well as an unspecified but significant amount of fencing and haystacks. Numerous secondary structures have also been destroyed. McCone Electric has lost over 120 power poles. An additional 16 structures not included above were identified via satellite imagery as destroyed but type of use has not yet been determined.

There are currently 26 active fires in the state of Montana. The Montana Stockgrowers Foundation is raising money to aid fire relief efforts, if you are interested in donating please mail your donation to 420 N California St Helena, MT 59601. Listed below are alternative ways to help those affected by the Lodgepole Complex Fire.

If you have any questions, please contact the MSGA Office at 406-442-3420.

 

Thank you to Northern Ag Network for continuing to update their list of ways to help. You can find a comprehensive list on their website.

Secretary Perdue Appoints New Leadership for Food Safety

(Washington, D.C., August 1, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today made two key appointments to help fulfill the vital mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply. Perdue announced that Carmen Rottenberg was selected as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety and Paul Kiecker was named Acting Administrator for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The two will serve in those capacities until presidential nominees are confirmed by the Senate for those roles. In making the announcements, Secretary Perdue issued this statement:

“Ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply is our most important responsibility, and it’s one we undertake with great seriousness.  Both Carmen and Paul have dedicated their careers to the mission of food safety and I am pleased to have appointed them to these important roles within the USDA,” said Secretary Perdue. “I commend the work of the entire USDA’s food safety team for painstakingly safeguarding the food we serve our families every single day.”

Background:

Carmen Rottenberg was appointed Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the USDA’s Office of Food Safety. In this position, she oversees development, implementation, and enforcement of all of FSIS regulations, policies, and programs. This appointment follows nearly six years in leadership roles in the FSIS Office of the Administrator, including serving as Chief of Staff, Chief Operating Officer and, most recently, Deputy Administrator.

In those leadership roles, Rottenberg executed a budget of over $1 billion, prioritizing resources and resolving disputes, advancing the Agency’s vision and goals, and leading innovative solutions to challenges in FSIS.  She spearheaded strategic planning at FSIS and implemented numerous initiatives to strategically move the agency forward.  Rottenberg implemented two major reorganizations, leading to a more streamlined, efficient agency better positioned to carry out its food safety mission.  Through her leadership and oversight, an early governance process matured into an established systematic approach to agency decision-making, resulting in more deliberative, science-based decisions that consider enterprise-wide risks and benefits. Rottenberg led the very successful i-Impact initiative, which has increased the awareness of and engagement in FSIS’s public health mission by the more than 9,000 employees throughout the Agency.

Rottenberg joined FSIS as an Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist in 2007 and went on to become the Deputy Director of the Civil Rights Staff.  She began her federal government career in the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of General Counsel and previously worked as a law clerk at a small law firm in Fairfax, VA.  She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Hope College in Holland, MI and a law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law.

Paul Kiecker was named Acting Administrator for the FSIS.  Throughout his 29 years with FSIS, he has been committed to a strong public health vision that has guided him to overcome obstacles, identify opportunities for improvement, manage resources efficiently, and achieve food safety objectives to prevent foodborne illness.

Since joining FSIS in 1988 as a food inspector, Kiecker has served in a number of roles at the agency, most recently as Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Field Operations.  He came to Washington, D.C. to serve as Executive Associate for Regulatory Operations, after serving as the District Manager in Springdale, AR, and Madison, WI, as well as Deputy District Manager in Madison, WI.  Kiecker’s experience with FSIS also includes work with the Office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit, where he has served as a Compliance Investigator and as Supervisory Compliance Officer.

In his various positions with FSIS, Kiecker has played a critical role in leading external coordination with other federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, international organizations, and law enforcement agencies.  He also has had oversight responsibility for strategic planning, policy formulation and implementation, budget development and execution, human resource management, and day-to-day inspection operations.

Source: USDA

conservation applications

NRCS Offers Wildfire Recovery Assistance to Ag Producers in Montana

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering technical and financial assistance to agricultural landowners impacted by 2017 wildfires across Montana.

NRCS is accepting applications for its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to assist with livestock grazing deferment, damaged fence and post removal, livestock fencing, water facility development, critical area plantings, and cover crops. NRCS accepts conservation program applications year-round; however, applications for 2017 wildfire recovery funding must be submitted by Aug. 15, 2017.

“NRCS in Montana is prepared to assist landowners in dealing with the effects of wildfires and dry weather conditions,” said Lisa Coverdale, NRCS state conservationist for Montana. “We want to work with landowners to help them address fire related resource concerns on their farm or ranch operations.”

High winds, low humidity, and prolonged dry conditions led to the summer wildfires in several Montana counties, and many landowners are faced with making plans for recovery after the wildfires.

Landowners impacted by recent wildfires are encouraged to contact their local NRCS office to seek assistance. NRCS can provide technical and financial assistance to install measures that address resource concerns caused by the wildfires. “We want to provide assistance that will help landowners and livestock producers accelerate the recovery of affected agricultural land and rebuild their infrastructure,” Coverdale said.

Landowners should visit their local NRCS office to apply for EQIP. Applications will be ranked, and those approved for funding will be offered a contract. Additional fire-related information can be found on the Montana NRCS website at www.mt.nrcs.usda.gov.

Agriculture Fire & Drought Assistance Hotline

As drought conditions worsen and fires burn throughout the state, the Montana Department of Agriculture has launched the Agriculture Fire and Drought Assistance Hotline. The hotline will serve as a tool to help connect those affected to available resources, programs and donations, as well as to provide information on how others can help. Questions related to hay/feed donations, livestock, fencing, and transportation can be directed to the hotline. The hotline number is 1-844-515-1571 and will be staffed 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.

“Montana’s agriculture industry has been disproportionately impacted by disasters this year, both drought and fire,” said MDA Director Ben Thomas. “There’s currently a major need for resources and there’s been an overwhelming swell of support from folks across the state and throughout the country. We saw a need to get information out about resources available and ways to help connect people to those resources.”

Montana Agriculture Fire & Drought Assistance Hotline
1-844-515-1571
Monday-Friday, 8 am–5 pm

The hotline is not an emergency number, if you are in an emergency please call 911.

Visit www.agr.mt.gov/Fire-Drought-Assistance-2017 for more information.

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.

Secretary Perdue on Japan’s Planned Increase of Tariff on U.S. Frozen Beef

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2017 – The government of Japan has announced that rising imports of frozen beef in the first quarter of the Japanese fiscal year (April-June) have triggered a safeguard, resulting in an automatic increase to Japan’s tariff rate under the WTO on imports of frozen beef from the United States.  The increase, from 38.5 percent to 50 percent, will begin August 1, 2017 and last through March 31, 2018.  The tariff would affect only exporters from countries, including the United States, which do not have free trade agreements with Japan currently in force.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement:

“I am concerned that an increase in Japan’s tariff on frozen beef imports will impede U.S. beef sales and is likely to increase the United States’ overall trade deficit with Japan.  This would harm our important bilateral trade relationship with Japan on agricultural products.  It would also negatively affect Japanese consumers by raising prices and limiting their access to high-quality U.S. frozen beef.  I have asked representatives of the Japanese government directly and clearly to make every effort to address these strong concerns, and the harm that could result to both American producers and Japanese consumers.”

U.S. exports of beef and beef products to Japan totaled $1.5 billion last year, making it the United States’ top market.

Montana FSA: USDA offers help to fire-affected farmers and ranchers in Montana

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Acting State Executive Director, Amy Webbink in Montana, reminds farmers and ranchers affected by the recent wildfires that disaster assistance programs are available to support their recovery efforts.

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) can assist farmers and ranchers who lost livestock, grazing land, fences or eligible trees, bushes and vines as a result of a natural disaster. FSA administers a suite of safety-net programs to help producers recover from eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, and the Tree Assistance Program. Detailed information on all of these disaster assistance programs can be found online at: www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster.

In addition, the FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. Producers located in counties that receive a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Compensation is also available to producers who purchased coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which protects non-insurable crops (including native grass for grazing) against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses or prevented planting.

“Recent wildfires and the drought have caused devastating losses for many farmers and ranchers in our state,” Webbink said. “Over the past several years, wildfires have increased in severity, intensity and cost as the fire season has grown longer. Natural disasters such as wildfires are unavoidable, but USDA has strong safety-net programs to help producers get back on their feet.”

For more information on FSA disaster assistance programs, please contact your local USDA Service Center. To find your local USDA Service Center go to http://offices.usda.gov.

The Farm Service Agency is rural America’s engine for economic growth, job creation and development, offering local, personal service to millions of rural producers.  In 2016, FSA invested $22 billion in agricultural infrastructure, supporting nearly 225,000 jobs nationwide.  This included 40,000 direct and guaranteed operating loans; along with critical support for hundreds of thousands of producers experiencing livestock and forage losses caused by floods, drought and other disasters. FSA provides financial protection to half the nation’s dairies, safe storage to producers, inspects over 3,000 licensed public warehouses, provides food assistance valued at $667 million and partners with states and organizations to support production of American-made renewable fuel.  Additionally, through the Conservation Reserve Program, the agency encourages conservation of sensitive lands and works with nonprofit agencies to enhance wildlife through habitat improvement.

Source: Montana FSA

Drought expansion in Montana

Much of Montana and parts of the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas had no rain this week; some areas have been drier than normal for the last 2 to 3 months; and some drought indicators reflect dryness for the last 12 months. D3-D4 were expanded in northeast Montana, and D3 expanded in northwest South Dakota and was added in southeast South Dakota, where the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) was consistently at those dry levels for the last 1 to 9 months. D1-D4 expanded in northwest North Dakota where the SPI was consistently at those dry levels for the last 1-6 months. D0-D2 expanded across much of Nebraska, with collateral expansion of D1-D2 in adjacent South Dakota, D1 in adjacent Iowa, and D0-D1 in southeast Wyoming, and D0 expanded in parts of eastern Kansas and northeast Colorado, due to 30-90 day precipitation deficits and high evapotranspiration caused by excessive heat. Governors provided much-needed response to the dire drought impacts.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock issued an executive order declaring a drought disaster in 28 counties and five Indian reservations in the eastern part of the state. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts issued an emergency proclamation, allowing the state Emergency Management Agency to address unmet drought needs, particularly those related to wildfires. According to July 23rd USDA reports, 92% of the topsoil moisture and 88% of the subsoil moisture were rated short or very short in Montana, 82%/81% of the topsoil/subsoil moisture was short or very short in South Dakota, 71%/66% in Nebraska, 67%/62% in North Dakota, 61%/58% in Wyoming, and 45%/41% in Colorado. More than half of the pasture and rangeland were rated in poor to very poor condition in North Dakota (75%), South Dakota (73%), and Montana (56%). In South Dakota, 37% of the corn crop, 34% of soybeans, 57% of sorghum, and 76% of the spring wheat were in poor to very poor condition. In North Dakota, 23% of the corn crop and 39% of the spring wheat were in poor to very poor condition. In Montana, 55% of the spring wheat was in poor to very poor condition. According to media reports, as of July 25th, the Lodgepole Complex wildfire in Montana was the largest wildfire in the CONUS.

Dryness Categories

D0 … Abnormally Dry … used for areas showing dryness but not yet in drought, or for areas recovering from drought.

Drought Intensity Categories

D1 … Moderate Drought

D2 … Severe Drought

D3 … Extreme Drought

D4 … Exceptional Drought

Drought or Dryness Types

S … Short-Term, typically <6 months (e.g. agricultural, grasslands)

L … Long-Term, typically >6 months (e.g. hydrology, ecology)

Montana Drought Resources

 

 

Source: U.S. Drought Monitor