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.

Montana Stockgrowers to Host 134th Annual Convention in Billings

December 11-13. Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) will celebrate 134 years of serving the state’s ranchers at their Annual Convention & Trade Show. This year’s meetings at the Northern Hotel and DoubleTree Hotel in Billings will feature a trade show, educational workshops, and policy meetings.

“Our 2018 Annual Convention will feature a large number of discussions about issues that will turn into policy for the Association,” noted MSGA President, Bryan Mussard of Dillon. “Policy set at Convention will guide the actions of MSGA at the upcoming Montana Legislative Session. I encourage everyone to come to Billings to lend their voice to help guide the future of Montana Agriculture! Your voice is your future. Share your insight, learn from others and help shape our industry.”

Department of Interior’s Tim Williams, the Deputy Director of External Affairs, will be the featured speaker during Thursday’s Opening General Session. Williams originates from Nevada, where he served as Deputy Director of the Donald J. Trump for President campaign. Prior to that, he was a partner at a political consulting firm, managing local, state and Congressional races.

A broad range of educational workshops will be offered during the Stockgrowers College. Speakers will touch on topics of calf health and nutrition, calf management, heifer development, antibiotic use, access issues, soil health, EID systems, DNA technology, risk management, and estate planning.

Policy meetings will take place on all three days of Annual Convention. Guest speakers will address a number of topics affecting Montana’s ranching communities during the past year and in months to come. A Trade Show with over 100 booth spaces will be open to the public Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Thursday’s Grand Finale Banquet will be highlighted by the annual live auction for Cattle Directory Priority Page advertisements and a beef dinner!

A full meeting agenda, hotel information, details of policy meeting discussions and Stockgrowers College workshops are available on the MSGA website at mtbeef.org. Online and discounted registration closes Thursday, December 6. On-site registration will be available. For more information, contact the Montana Stockgrowers Association at (406) 442-3420.

TVMT (Television Montana) Becomes Montana Public Affairs Network (MPAN)

The Montana Public Affairs Network (MPAN) premieres November 1, 2018. The channel formerly known as TVMT (Television Montana) becomes MPAN to reflect the channel’s evolving focus toward expanding services to the citizens of Montana beyond the live, unedited, nonpartisan, gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Legislative Branch. Viewers will notice a new look and logo for the channel that continues to provide the coverage citizens have come to rely on while expanding civic educational programming offerings into the future.

“My hope is that the name Montana Public Affairs Network (MPAN) better describes how the channel serves the people of Montana, with in-depth coverage of their state government in action,” says Aaron Pruitt, Interim Director and General Manager of Montana PBS. “Our goal is to bring a fresh graphical look to the channel that appeals to today’s television audiences, as well as incorporating images of Montana that remind viewers of the beautiful state we all share.”

MPAN is a statewide Montana cable broadcast channel, produced in partnership with Montana PBS and the Montana Legislative Services Division. Montana PBS, the contracted operator of MPAN as of July 2017, produces and broadcasts all of MPAN’s content.

“TVMT (now MPAN) was born out of a desire to provide the public with access to their government and it performed that function admirably,” says Susan Fox, Executive Director of Montana Legislative Services Division (LSD). “The Montana Legislature has invested taxpayer money, and with it, its trust that we would provide a quality service to the people. I think we are now bringing to fruition the goal of expanded, transparent coverage of government with the technological quality that the public has come to expect. Our close partnership with Montana PBS will enable us to grow, add value, and bring greater coverage of public affairs to more Montana citizens.”

Evolving technology implemented by the LSD also improves the quality of the service. All live events produced at the Capitol are now in high definition and have a wide screen format to better serve modern televisions. A new increased broadcast bandwidth delivers a higher quality signal to its viewers. Viewers will see high-definition graphics and a new look and logo. Program schedule information will be available to viewers via listing services and the Montana PBS app. These improvements enable viewers to see what they are currently watching and allow them to digitally record future programming. In addition, Montana PBS and the LSD are working together to create closed captioning options for viewers in the near future.

Pruitt says the team creatively reimagined how the channel might better serve Montanans. “We all agreed that a new name and look was a great place to start. Under the direction of the LSD, the MPAN channel really belongs to the citizens of the state.”

MPAN reaches thousands of Montana homes through the efforts of Montana broadcasters, cable, and telecommunications providers. MPAN is seen in over 225 communities every day. It’s carried on Charter Communications, Montana PBS, 3 Rivers Communications, Mid-Rivers Communications, Nemont, MT Opticom, Skyview TV, Tobacco Valley Communications, Valley County Television District #1, Southern Montana Telephone, and Viking Broadband. MPAN is channel 191 in all Charter Spectrum markets, and is also on Montana PBS’s over the air digital lineup on the .5 channel as “Montana Capitol Coverage.”

MPAN provides the video for the Montana Legislature’s live streaming service online at www.leg.mt.gov. Viewers can also engage with the service through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on the web at www.leg.mt.gov/audio-video.

 

Source: Montana Legislative Services

USDA and ONDCP Unveil Latest Tool to Help Rural Communities Address the Opioid Epidemic

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Deputy Director Jim Carroll and U.S. Department of Agriculture Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today unveiled a listing of Federal programs that can be used to build resilient communities and address opioid misuse in rural communities. The Rural Resource Guide to Help Communities Address Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse (PDF, 1.7 MB) is a first-of-its-kind, one-stop-shop for rural leaders looking for Federal funding and partnership opportunities.

“Many rural communities in America have been especially hard hit by the opioid crisis,” said Deputy Director Carroll. “ONDCP and USDA partnered to create this guide to help them find the Federal resources that can help them respond.”

“Strong and healthy communities are a cornerstone for prosperity in rural America,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to empowering rural leaders with tools to better leverage state, local and private resources with federal investment.”

More than 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids since 2000. President Donald J. Trump has mobilized his entire Administration to address opioid abuse by directing the declaration of a nationwide Public Health Emergency. For a rural community or county already struggling to attract new – or maintain existing – businesses, the impact of opioid misuse on the quality of life and economic prosperity can be enormous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in October 2017 that death rates from drug overdoses in rural areas have now surpassed drug overdose death rates in urban areas.

The Rural Resource Guide to Help Communities Address Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse was developed by the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group. In May 2018, the ONDCP stood up the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group to help address the opioid crisis by improving coordination and reducing potential overlap among federal agencies responding to the crisis in the Nation’s rural communities.

The Working Group is co-chaired by ONDCP and USDA. The departments and agencies represented on the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group include the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing, Justice, Labor, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs; the Corporation for National and Community Service; and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The Rural Resource Guide to Help Address Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse is the second tool announced this month in USDA’s Community Opioid Misuse Toolbox – a suite of essential tools supporting grassroots strategies to address the opioid epidemic. Earlier this month, USDA launched the Community Assessment Tool, an interactive database to help community leaders assess how and why the opioid epidemic is impacting their regions. USDA’s Community Opioid Misuse Toolbox is free and available to the public. It can be accessed on USDA’s Rural Opioid Misuse Webpage.

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 facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

Source: USDA Press Release

Trump Administration Launches “Winning on Reducing Food Waste” Initiative

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the signing of a joint agency formal agreement under the Winning on Reducing Food Waste initiative.  The agreement is aimed at improving coordination and communication across federal agencies attempting to better educate Americans on the impacts and importance of reducing food loss and waste.  Signing the joint agency agreement were U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply. This figure, based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010.  Wasted food is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills and represents nourishment that could have helped feed families in need.  Additionally, water, energy, and labor used to produce wasted food could have been employed for other purposes.  Effectively reducing food waste will require cooperation among federal, state, tribal and local governments, faith-based institutions, environmental organizations, communities, and the entire supply chain.

While there have been significant actions taken and commitments made through public-private partnerships to date, such as the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions initiative, which aims to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030, there is still much work to be done.  The Trump Administration commends the 23 organizations and businesses which have joined the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, including the three most recent companies – Kroger, Hilton, and MGM Resorts International– which joined today.  There are tremendous economic opportunities and possible cost savings for businesses and individual households that can result from reducing food waste. And while businesses are a critical component of food waste reductions, consumer education is also key to the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative.

“An unacceptable percentage of our food supply is lost or wasted,” said Secretary Perdue.  “As the world’s population continues to grow and the food systems continue to evolve, now is the time for action to educate consumers and businesses alike on the need for food waste reduction.  I am pleased to be joined by my Trump Administration colleagues on this important, common sense issue.  The future of food depends on action from us now, which is why we have established this formal partnership among USDA, EPA, and FDA.”

“EPA is proud to partner with USDA and FDA to enhance food recovery efforts and educate the public on the need for improved food waste management,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler.“Redirecting excess food to people, animals, or energy production has tremendous economic and social benefits, and that is why the Trump Administration is working closely with businesses and consumers to prevent food loss and maximize the inherent value of food.”

“Sadly, each day too many American families struggle to meet their nutritional needs and we at the FDA recognize the important role that reducing food waste can play in filling this critical gap,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “By taking steps to address obstacles that food donation and recovery programs may face in giving unsold foods a second opportunity and helping food producers find ways to recondition their products so that they can be safely sold or donated, our aim is to both reduce food waste and nourish Americans in need. We are delighted to be collaborating with our federal partners on the Winning on Reducing Food Waste initiative as we continue to explore additional ways to reduce food waste and make safe, nutritional foods available to all.”

This joint announcement was unveiled at the USDA’s headquarters and was followed by a panel discussion on fostering change to reduce food waste in the U.S. The panel moderated by Barry Breen, Acting Assistant Administrator of the EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management.

Speakers included:

  • Mace Thornton, Executive Director of Communications, American Farm Bureau Federation
  • Jeanne Blankenship, Vice President of Policy Initiatives and Advocacy, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Dan Abrams, Director, Campus Kitchens Project, DC Central Kitchen
  • Melissa Terry, Food Policy Researcher, University of Arkansas

The agencies collectively look forward to hearing feedback from stakeholders about how they can work together at the federal level and leverage partners throughout the supply chain to have national impact on reducing food loss and waste in the long term.

For more information on USDA’s efforts to combat food waste and loss, click here.

For more information on how to become a U.S Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion, click here.

Source: USDA Press Release

NCBA to Reiterate Unwavering Support for USDA Oversight of Lab-Grown Fake Meat

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) will highlight the food safety and product labeling expertise of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) during a two-day public meeting on lab-grown fake meat. The public meeting, hosted jointly by USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), takes place October 23-24. The meeting agenda lists a wide range of topics for consideration, including potential production hazards, food labeling, and marketing claims.

NCBA President Kevin Kester and President-Elect Jennifer Houston are scheduled to deliver remarks during the open comment periods of the session. Houston will explain why USDA is well-positioned to apply current food safety processes to lab-grown fake meat products. Two-thirds of the facilities already overseen by USDA are “processing-only” facilities where harvesting of animals does not take place.

“Ensuring lab-grown fake meat products are subject to strong, daily inspection by USDA’s trained professionals is essential,” she said. “The health of consumers is on the line, and USDA is far better suited to ensure the safety of lab-grown products.”

Kester will focus his comments on how USDA oversight provides protects consumers against false and misleading marketing claims.

“USDA can be trusted to enforce truthful, transparent labeling of the products under its jurisdiction,” he said. “Beef producers welcome competition, but product labels and marketing must be based on sound science, not the misleading claims of anti-animal agriculture activists.”

Montana Beef Council Board of Directors set tentative marketing plan for fiscal year

The Montana Beef Council would like to invest up to $825,000 into programs of beef promotion, education, and producer communications in fiscal year 2019, which began Oct. 1. Programs approved could be funded through Montana’s 50 cent in-state portion of the $1 per head beef checkoff, after Montana producers provide affirmative consent to Montana Beef Council to retain that portion of their assessment.

In action concluding its Sept. 25-26 meeting in Billings, the MBC Board of Directors—all Montana volunteers, including members from nearly all segments of the beef supply chain—approved checkoff funding for a total of 20 demand-building and producer communication project funding requests for checkoff funding, in the fiscal year.

“It was a very productive annual meeting and we plan to utilize the consent dollars available to invest in a variety of programs to showcase beef. We are still here and we still have a lot of work to do,” said Jim Taber, Montana Beef Council president, a cow-calf producer and backgrounder from Shawmut, Mont. “We’ll spend the remainder of our time and funding to seek more consent dollars from producers and share the value of the checkoff.”

As a result of its deliberations, the board of directors preliminarily approved requests from 16 different organizations that will strive towards the mission of protecting and increasing demand for beef and beef products. The Fiscal Year 2019 Marketing Plan for the Montana Beef Council includes:

  • $17,175 for in-state education programs and materials, including classroom education, farm fairs and a media-chef pasture to plate tour;
  • $33,890 for promotional programs and materials, focusing on in-state tradeshows, consumer radio and digital advertising,, a barbecue cook-off, an innovative beef competition, a foodservice partnership and a targeted consumer event in the Northeast United States;
  • $9,500 for the Montana Beef Quality Assurance program;
  • $103,000 for in-state producer communications, which includes producer outreach using television, digital and radio communication as well direct communications to producers about checkoff results and the consent form process;
  • $31,000 for national travel for representation of Montana producers by the elected Federation of State Beef Council and U.S. Meat Export Federation Directors; and

Other anticipated expenses funded through the budget include $324,350 for administration, which includes mandatory collection expenses, consent form processing,  office leases, insurance, equipment, office supplies, postage, telephone, Department of Livestock administration expenses, board expenses, in-state travel for programs and producer communication and administrative staff compensation for program implementation.

“Montana producers should feel proud of the work their beef marketing program is doing and I encourage ranchers to take some time to learn more about all the projects we do,” said Kiley Martinell, a cow-calf producer from Dell, Mont. “Each of our board members and staff is passionate about promoting beef and I have learned so much about the checkoff during my time on the board.”

Checkoff collection remains mandatory, however the above programs will only be carried out by Montana Beef Council after Montana producers complete and return the Producer Consent to Fund Montana Beef Council Form. The form can be obtained at www.MontanaBeefCouncil.org or by calling the Montana Beef Council at (406) 656-3336.

Source: Montana Beef Council Press Release

Gallatin Valley Agriculture Planning for the Future

Andrea Wass with Northwestern Mutual and Krista Evans with Blake Creek Project Management invite you to join them for an afternoon of learning. They will be featuring several expert speakers to help and assist you with generational planning as well as an in-depth water rights discussion, including water rights adjudication in the Gallatin. Please review the below agenda with the registration form.

Date: Thursday, November 8, 2018
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Gallatin County Fairgrounds
901 N Black Ave

Bozeman, MT 59715

*Attendees will also receive free admission to the Agriculture & Political Uncertainty Seminar at
Montana State University on Friday, November 9, 2018.

USDA Issues Farm Safety Net and Conservation Payments

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to invest in rural America with more than $4.8 billion in payments being made, starting this month, to agricultural producers through the Farm Service Agency’s Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Conservation Reserve (CRP) programs. Approximately $3 billion in payments will be made under the ARC and PLC programs for the 2017 crop year, and approximately $1.8 billion in annual rental payments under CRP for 2018.

“Despite a temporary lapse of Farm Bill authorities, farmers and ranchers can rest assured that USDA continues to work within the letter of the law to deliver much-needed farm safety net, conservation, disaster recovery, and trade assistance program payments,” said Perdue.

The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and make up a portion of the agricultural safety net to producers when they experience a substantial drop in revenue or prices for their covered commodities.

“These program payments are mandated by Congress, but the Department has taken measures to ensure we meet our deadlines and get capital in the hands of those folks that need it most. Unfortunately, 2018 has proven to be another tough year for producers across the Nation, making the timeliness even more critical. Our resilient farmers, ranchers, and producers are battling more hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, floods, and even lava flows,” said Perdue.

PLC payments have triggered for 2017 barley, canola, corn, grain sorghum, wheat, and other crops. In the next few months, payments will be triggered for rice, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower, crambe, and sesame seed. Producers with bases enrolled in ARC for 2017 crops can visit www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc for updated crop yields, prices, revenue, and payment rates. The estimated payments are before application of sequestration and other reductions and limits, including adjusted gross income limits and payment limitations.

Also, this week, USDA will begin issuing 2018 CRP payments to over 362,000 landowners to support voluntary conservation efforts on private lands. “CRP has long been a useful tool for the Department to encourage farmers to take that environmentally-sensitive, more unproductive land, out of production and build-up their natural resource base. These CRP payments are meant to help encourage land stewardship and help support an operation’s bottom line,” said Perdue.

Source: USDA

2018 Montana CattleWomen Scholarship Recipient Announced

by Nancy Heriem MCW Scholarship Committee Chair

The 2018 Montana CattleWomen’s Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Kyler Maharg of Helena, Montana.  Kyler is pursuing a Bachelor of Science at the Montana State University (MSU) College of Agriculture in Animal Science.  He has completed his first year at MSU in this program with a 4.0 grade point average.  Kyler is a former high school graduate from Helena High and grew up on his multi-generation family ranch near Helena, Montana.

Kyler was one of seven highly qualified applicants for the MCA scholarship.

In Kyler’s own words, he believes “one of the biggest issues that affects the agricultural industry today is lack of education.  Many people don’t know where their food comes from.”  He further stated that “every student in the 3rd or 4th grade should experience a day at the farm/ranch.”  As a strong advocate for educating children about agriculture, Kyler has been instrumental with his family in bringing children to their ranch to show them and let them experience first hand “where their food comes from.”  He plans to expand this program to all 3rd graders in the Helena School District and hopes to help expand this program throughout the entire state of Montana.

The Montana Cattlewomen’s Scholarship is in the amount of $1,000 and is funded through memorials.  This scholarship was established in 1963 and has been awarded to a worthy receipt every year since its inception.

With a passion for ranching and educating young people about agriculture, Kyler will continue to be a strong contributor to the agriculture and livestock industry.  Congratulations Kyler!