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 Association Turns 125 Years Old

It is more than humbling for me to be going to Miles City next week as the 10th Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. The association has endured and seen a lot of things since that inaugural meeting in Miles City way back in 1884. My hope is that this very special occasion will bring forth a great opportunity to unite a cattle industry in Montana that has been more than divided over the past decade.

You will not want to miss the parade, ranch rodeo, stockmen’s ball, wagon trains, artwork and more. For more information about this monumental celebration next week visit to download the full schedule and registration form. Hope to see you in Miles City!

MSGA to sponsor Custer Ranch Rodeo team to benefit the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, June 20

The Custer community will hold its Third Annual Custer Ranch Rodeo to benefit the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF&WHC) at the Custer Roping Arena, June 20, 2009 beginning at 1 p.m. A dinner and dance will follow at the Junction City Saloon.
The ranch rodeo will feature 10 four-person teams (including at least one woman or one man) that will compete in stock saddle bronc riding, wild cow milking, team doctoring, team branding, and team penning. Teams will also compete this year in a new event called the “Pony Express Race.” Also new this year, the winning team in Custer will qualify to compete at the NILE Championship Ranch Rodeo in Billings in October.

For more information about the Custer Ranch Rodeo, contact Tami Blake, Custer Ranch Rodeo chair, at (406) 757-2501 or

Montana CattleWomen present “Teens in the Kitchen” at their Annual Beef Cook-Off

The Montana CattleWomen will sponsor the Seventh Annual State Beef Cook-Off at the Great Falls State Fair on July 29, 2009. The contest, entitled “Teens in the Kitchen,” will take place in the Family Living Center at the Montana State Fairgrounds between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. At 5 p.m. winners will be announced and cash prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places; $150, $75, and $50 respectively.

“Teens in the Kitchen” will create their own fun beef recipe that promotes nutritional balance, is loved by teens and has all-family appeal. Any teenager between the ages of 13-18 may enter the contest. Teens must be able to prepare and display the beef dish without adult assistance. Contest entry forms and rules are available at the Cascade County Extension Office at (406) 454-6980, or 1807 3rd St. N.W. Westgate Mall, Great Falls, 59404; or at Entry deadline is July 20, 2009.

Miles City to host Montana Range Days, June 15-17

Montana Range Days, the largest rangeland educational event in the region, will be held in Miles City, June 15-17. More than 300 youth and adults are expected to join rangeland experts for three days to discuss rangeland management and the ecology of Montana’s most abundant natural resource.

Montana Range Days provides hands-on workshops on plant anatomy, plant identification, range site evaluation, monitoring, stocking rate calculation and range management planning. A series of well-supervised activities are offered to teach 4-to-8-year-old children about soils, water, plants and the animals that live on rangelands. Following the workshops, competitions are open to youth and adults in four age classes beginning with 9-year-olds. In addition to prizes for the competitions, three $1,000 scholarships are offered for students planning to attend any Montana college to earn a degree in rangeland-related fields. The Office of Public Instruction is also offering continuing education credits for all kindergarten through 12th grade teachers attending.

Tours will be offered for adults each day of the event. The first tour will be to the Pine Hills east of Miles City, to discuss general rangeland ecology and the less obvious factors that affect range management. Participants will tour the facilities at the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory and visit research sites with scientists examining fire, drought, range animal nutrition, and invasive weeds. The final tour discusses sage grouse habitat with experts on the birds’ food sources, mating grounds and nesting requirements.

Montana Range Days will begin 1:00 p.m., June 15, at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds with a guided practice at the range study site and the Pine Hills tour. Camping space, restrooms and showers will be available at the fairgrounds. Registration is open at a discounted rate until June 1. For more information, contact Jan Pratt at (406) 853-3388 or visit the website

“Making It Work in Tough Times” workshop to be held June 2 in Geyser

The 2009 Judith Basin County Range School will offer a day-long workshop June 2 in Geyser, Mont., on managing cattle and grazing lands in today’s uncertain economy.

The workshop, “Making It Work in Tough Times,” will feature speakers Gregg Doud, Chief Economist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA); David Pratt, CEO of Ranch Management Consultants, Inc.; and Montana’s own Jon Siddoway, NRCS State Range Conservationist.

Mr. Doud currently manages top-level economic and international trade policy issues for the NCBA in Washington, D.C., and co-staffs the policy division of the NCBA International Markets Committee. Mr. Doud’s presentation is entitled, “Survival of the Fittest.”

David Pratt has extensive experience in Range and Livestock with the California Extension Service and has been teaching the international Ranching for Profit School since 1992. Mr. Pratt will speak on “The Three Keys to Profit in Good Times and Bad” as well as “Ecological Concepts of Grazing Management”.

Jon Siddoway holds a bachelor and masters degrees in Rangeland Management. He has been working with ranchers all over the state of Montana for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for 20 years. Mr. Siddoway will take attendees on a “pasture walk” aimed at helping them read the signs of over-rest and over-use on grazing lands.

“Making It Work in Tough Times” is brought to you in part by the Montana Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative. This event will be held at the Brett and Penny Noland Ranch, located 5 miles south of Geyser, Mont. Registration is $10 and includes lunch for the day. Registration is due by May 15, 2009, at the Judith Basin Conservation District. For more information please call Teresa Wilhelms at (406) 566-2311 extension 107.

Governor Vetoes Agriculture Funding

Montana’s Governor Brian Schweitzer line-item vetoed $2 million for deferred maintenance of Montana Agriculture Experiment Stations. Montana’s entire agriculture industry worked very hard to get this funding during the legislature. Agriculture is still Montana’s number one economic engine and this funding had bipartisan support to help keep our agriculture research experiment stations on the cutting edge of global agriculture production. Right here in Montana! I have talked to many in agriculture about this and they are very upset and very dissapointed. To read the full article go to:

Governors Fight Disease Plan

Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal and Governor Butch Otter of Idaho are asking USDA APHIS to slow down on their plans to implement the National Brucellosis Eliminations Zone. To read the full article go to the Billings Gazette website at:

The Montana Stockgrowers Association along with the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association and the Idaho Cattlemen’s Association are all supportive of the joint letter by the two governors. MSGA sent a similar letter on April 22nd to USDA APHIS.

MSGA Says “NO” to Mandatory NAIS

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) opposes any proposed mandatory government National Animal Identification System (NAIS) because the organization feels such a system cannot sufficiently protect producer data, and any government program is likely to grow into a large bureaucracy complete with red tape and unnecessary expense to producers. It has long been MSGA’s stance that a private industry solution would be better for Montana’s cattlemen, while still providing the government with the information it requires in the event of an animal health emergency.

MSGA has long recognized the importance and the need for a national livestock identification system for better livestock control and for disease surveillance. MSGA members want a system that operates at minimal cost and protects producer confidentiality, while also recognizing the hot iron brand as a method of cattle identification for individual states as they see fit. It all begins with a core philosophy. MSGA has long believed in limiting government interference in cattle ranching. MSGA believes in the entrepreneurial tradition of ranchers and that success comes from a rancher’s ability to make his own decisions about how to market his cattle and manage his resources. MSGA favors Congress and USDA working with the industry to develop market-driven solutions to a national identification infrastructure rather than a government mandated system.

MSGA has worked to develop practical cattle identification solutions through technology combined with the hot iron brand. MSGA has been actively involved in developing and promoting Verified Beef, a beef source and age database designed to assist producers in receiving added value for their cattle. This is accomplished by providing certification to the prospective buyer of the age and source of the beef being sold, a requirement for export purposes to many countries. Verified Beef does not require a producer to register for a USDA Premise I.D. in order to enroll. The process is easy and Verified Beef staff members are readily available to help producers through the process. Verified Beef also offers producers the opportunity to certify their cattle as USDA Process Verified, Non-hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC), Never Ever 3 (NE3)/Natural and Grass Fed. Producers can visit for more information.

Industry driven solutions like Verified Beef are already USDA Process Verified and the producer’s information is kept confidential and secure by a private entity, not a government bureaucracy. MSGA is actively working with Congress to get them to see the value in working with the industry to provide value based identification systems that can also serve the purposes of livestock disease surveillance. If the industry is unwilling to participate or to bring proactive solutions to the national animal identification discussion it is highly likely that Congress will attempt to mandate a federal program. MSGA does not want to see this happen.

Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg Testifies Against NREPA

The Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Public Lands Council and the Montana Association of State Grazing Districts all have been in opposition to The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, proposed in 2007 and again in 2009. Representing livestock producers, who make a living on operations of combined private, state and federal lands, we know this means fewer livestock in these designated areas. This piece of legislation, introduced by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY),most recently on May 5th, would designate nearly 7 million acres of public land in Montana as wilderness. The livestock industry in Montana takes exception to this type of wilderness designation from a Representative that has never even set foot in our state.

Our organizations have historically supported the multiple use of public lands, but the designation of additional wilderness eliminates many multiple uses and will seriously curtail others, such as livestock grazing.

We support Congressman Rehberg’s statement, “This approach may work in Manhattan, New York, but it doesn’t work in Manhattan, Montana.” Any effort of this magnitude needs to be developed from the ground up. It is Montanans that know what is best for Montana.

Thank you, Congressman Rehberg, for your efforts in opposing The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act.