South Dakota TB strain previously found only in Mexico, new to U.S.

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) was identified in three beef cows during routine slaughter inspection by U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service inspectors at two Nebraska slaughter plants in February, 2017. The cows had been in feedlots in Nebraska and South Dakota since November, 2016.

Market records were used to identify the herd of origin, which was tested by state and federal animal health officials, revealing additional infected animals. The herd remains quarantined and 41 infected animals have been removed from the herd. Final disposition of remaining animals in the herd is being determined.

Thirteen adjacent herds, comprised of over 8,000 head, were quarantined for testing. One herd has been released from quarantine with negative results of testing in all cattle two years of age and older. Testing is in progress in the remaining adjacent herds and the majority of that work should be completed over the next three weeks.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, has conducted whole genome analysis of the bacteria isolated from some of the affected animals from the Harding County herd. Experts have concluded that this strain of bacteria is nearly identical to a strain that is known to exist in dairy cattle in the Central region of Mexico and that it has not previously been identified in the U.S. This strain is not related to the recent strain found in Canadian cattle, previous cases identified in South Dakota cattle or in Michigan wildlife and livestock.

CLICK HERE to read more

Snowy February Improves Snowpack in Montana and Streamflow Prospects for Spring

 BOZEMAN, Mont., March 7, 2017 – February brought a notable change to the weather patterns that were experienced during the month of January, according to snowpack data collected by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Montana.

 

Record breaking snowfall for the month of February was experienced in northern and southern river basins of the state during the first two weeks of the month. Snow blanketed the Rocky Mountain Front at the beginning of the month, with low elevations and valleys receiving more than 3 feet of snow. Flattop Mountain SNOTEL (snow telemetry) site in Glacier National Park set a new record for February snowfall and received 12.5 inches of snow water during the month, well above the 30 year normal of 5.3 inches for February. Further south, Cooke City received copious amounts of snow, prompting the first ever “Extreme” avalanche warning for the area when Fisher Creek SNOTEL received 10.9 inches of snow water between Jan. 31 and Feb. 11. Statewide, 12 SNOTEL sites set new records for February totals, and six sites were second highest.

 

Lucas Zukiewicz, NRCS water supply specialist for Montana, said all basins experienced substantial improvements over the month with many now at near to above normal for March 1, and most basins are also near to above last year at this time. “There are some sub-basins that remain below normal for this date due to the late onset of snowpack this year and sub-par November and January snowfall,” Zukiewicz said. “One major basin is still recovering from near record low early season snow; the Smith-Judith-Musselshell will be reliant on spring precipitation to make up ground before spring and summer runoff.”

 

February typically isn’t one of the “big” snow months for Montana, he said, but this year proved otherwise. As we make the transition into spring, precipitation is favored along and east of the Continental Divide.

 

“Near normal conditions on this date is great news, but there is still a month to a month and a half before snowpack generally peaks in the mountains of Montana,” Zukiewicz said. “The coming months and their weather patterns will play a critical role in the timing and magnitudes of water in the rivers this coming spring and summer.”

 

Streamflow forecasts across the state reflect the near to above normal snowpack in many basins, and above average water year-to-date (Since Oct 1, 2016) precipitation. Many forecast points are near to above average for many rivers and streams for the April – July time period, but some remain below average due to lack of seasonal snowpack in some central Montana basins. Detailed forecasts for 98 streams in Montana can be found in the March 1st, 2017 Water Supply Outlook Report.

 

Monthly Water Supply Outlook Reports can be found here after the 5th business day of the month:http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/mt/snow/waterproducts/basin/

 

March 1, 2017, Snow Water Equivalent
River Basin % of Normal % Last Year
Columbia 96 107
Kootenai, Montana 97 113
Flathead, Montana 97 109
Upper Clark Fork 95 101
Bitterroot 99 105
Lower Clark Fork 98 117
Missouri 100 109
Jefferson 103 97
Madison 113 126
Gallatin 98 108
Headwaters Mainstem 100 97
Smith-Judith-Musselshell 77 73
Sun-Teton-Marias 115 185
St. Mary-Milk 98 151
Yellowstone River Basin 140 173
Upper Yellowstone 128 147
Lower Yellowstone 152 197
West of the Divide 96 107
East of the Divide 120 138
Montana State-Wide 102 113
March 1, 2017, Precipitation
River Basin Monthly % of Average Water Year % of Average Water Year % of Last Year
Columbia 190 120 118
Kootenai, Montana 215 130 114
Flathead, Montana 193 125 124
Upper Clark Fork 161 108 113
Bitterroot 166 106 108
Lower Clark Fork 209 124 123
Missouri 186 131 132
Jefferson 183 122 122
Madison 201 140 151
Gallatin 164 129 126
Headwaters Mainstem 173 117 119
Smith-Judith-Musselshell 158 114 108
Sun-Teton-Marias 220 123 154
St. Mary-Milk 222 159 145
Yellowstone River Basin 198 146 166
Upper Yellowstone 207 145 153
Lower Yellowstone 196 149 182
West of the Divide 190 120 118
East of the Divide 194 136 146
Montana State-Wide 189 128 128
April-July 50% Exceedance Forecasts
River Basin Highest Point Forecast* Lowest Point Forecast** Basin Avg Forecast***
Columbia 143% 93% 104%
Kootenai, Montana 107% 100% 105%
Flathead, Montana 143% 93% 110%
Upper Clark Fork 115% 100% 105%
Bitterroot 102% 94% 99%
Lower Clark Fork 108% 98% 103%
Missouri 129% 58% 102%
Jefferson 129% 82% 106%
Madison 122% 108% 115%
Gallatin 101% 91% 96%
Headwaters Mainstem 106% 100% 104%
Smith-Judith-Musselshell 89% 58% 74%
Sun-Teton-Marias 119% 85% 106%
St. Mary 113% 110% 111%
Yellowstone River Basin 199% 83% 118%
Upper Yellowstone 148% 83% 119%
Lower Yellowstone 199% 90% 118%

Note: Streamflow forecasts are issued for multiple points on rivers and streams within a major river basin and are given as a range of exceedance probabilities. Consult the individual river basin of interest to see the range of values for streams of interest.

*Highest point forecast is the highest 50% forecast of all forecast points within the basin.

**Lowest point forecast is the lowest 50% forecast of all forecast points within the basin.

***Basin average forecast is an average of all 50% forecasts within the basin.

 

Landowners have until March 30 to apply for access tax credit program

Landowners have until March 30 to submit applications to Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks for enrollment in a new program called Unlocking Public Lands that may qualify a landowner for up to $3,000 in annual tax credits. Through this program, a landowner who enters into a contractual agreement with FWP to allow public recreational access across private land to reach a parcel of otherwise inaccessible state or federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or United States Forest Service (USFS) land is entitled to receive a $750 annual tax credit per contract, with a maximum of four contracts per year.

The Unlocking Public Lands program is a product of the 2015 Legislature, which expanded a program called Unlocking State Land passed by the previous legislature. While Montana contains nearly 31 million acres of BLM, USFS, and state land, much of this land requires landowner permission to cross private land to reach the state or federal land.

“Offering a tax credit in exchange for allowing public access across private land to reach public land is a unique and innovative way to increase public access,” said Ken McDonald, FWP wildlife division administrator. “We hope these new opportunities and incentives may appeal to landowners throughout the state.”

More information about the program, including enrollment criteria and the application form, can be found at http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/hunterAccess/unlockingPublicLands/.

Comments sought on invasive mussels rules

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking comment on proposed amendments to rules needed to effectively contain, detect and prevent the risk of spreading invasive mussels and other aquatic invasive species to other state waters.

Invasive mussel larvae were detected for the first time in Montana in October 2016 in Tiber Reservoir – and “suspect” detections turned up in Canyon Ferry Reservoir, the Missouri River below Toston Dam, and the Milk River.

The discovery triggered a natural resource emergency in Montana and led to several recommended strategies to manage the threat of the mussels spreading.

The proposed rule amendments include:

• Mandatory inspections of out-of-state motorized or nonmotorized watercraft prior to launching on any Montana waterbody.

• Mandatory inspections of motorized or nonmotorized watercraft traveling across the Continental Divide into the Columbia River Basin within Montana.

• Mandatory inspections of all motorized or nonmotorized watercraft coming off Tiber and Canyon Ferry reservoirs, anddecontamination if necessary.

• Drain plugs would be required to be removed; if the watercraft doesn’t have drain plugs, reasonable measures must be taken to dry or drain all compartments, including bilges.

• Transporting lake and river water would be prohibited.

• Live bait and fish would be required to transported in clean domestic water where allowed in current fishing regulations. Upon leaving Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoirs, bait and fish must be transported without water.

A public hearing on the proposed rule amendments is set for 6 p.m. March 14 in Helena at FWP Headquarters, 1420 E. 6th Ave. Comments on the proposed rule amendments are due by March 17. They can be emailed to fwpexotics@mt.gov; or mailed to: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.

Invasive zebra and quagga mussels have caused tens of millions of dollars in damages in the Great Lakes region and more recently in the southwestern U.S. The primary vector for transporting invasive mussels is water hauled by boats and associated equipment. Boaters and anglers should take year-round precautions and toclean, drain and dry their equipment after each use.

In the absence of their natural predators, invasive mussels rapidly cause significant problems by altering natural systems that support Montana fisheries; overwhelming lakes and rivers and the plants that help keep waters clean and productive; reducing water-based recreation; damaging outdoor equipment, including boats, motors and associated gear; clogging water pipes and hydropower facilities; jamming municipal water supply lines; and choking off agricultural irrigation systems.

MSU Extension sets March 10 workshop on agricultural resiliency

BOZEMAN – Montana State University Extension in Gallatin County will host the workshop “Building Resiliency in Agriculture,” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, March 10, at the Gallatin County Extension office, located at 903 N. Black Ave., Bozeman.

The workshop aims to improve farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to respond to variability and extremes in agricultural operations. Topics will include past, present and future climate; flexible stocking rates; emerging crops; weed management; irrigation efficiency and soil moisture measurement; and financial resiliency.

To register, contact Emily Lockard, MSU Extension agriculture agent, or Brad Bauer, MSU Extension natural resources agent, at (406) 582-3280, gallatin@montana.edu. Attendees can also register at the Extension office in Bozeman. The workshop costs $10 and includes lunch.

For more information, see: http://www.gallatinextension.com.

Week 8 || 65th Montana Legislative Session

It has been a VERY busy week at the session. Jay Bodner and Kori Anderson sit down to discuss the week in Helena. Have questions? Call the MSGA office at 442.3420 or email kori@mtbeef.org. Click HERE for a written update.

MSGA Now Taking Applications for Young Cattleman’s Conference

Montana_Stockgrowers_Foundation_LogoFinalDon’t miss this opportunity to learn more about the structure of the U.S. cattle industry and gain insight on the legislative process that guides our business. Montana Stockgrowers Foundation will send one Montana delegate on this year’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC), held May 31 – June 8, 2017. Applications, due March 1, are available at mtbeef.org.

The Young Cattlemen’s Conference is an opportunity for cattlemen and cattlewomen between the ages of 25 and 50 to visit segments of the beef industry in other parts of our nation with young ranchers from other states. Facilitated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), participants will travel with national attendees to Denver, Chicago and Washington D.C., visiting JBS Five Rivers facilities, Chicago Board of Trade and Capitol Hill. Last year we had two Montana delegates, Andy Kellom from Hobson, Mont. and Ariel Overstreet-Adkins from Great Falls, Mont.

The primary objective is to develop leadership qualities in young cattlewomen and cattlemen and expose them to all aspects of the beef industry. The tour helps these young leaders understand all areas of our industry ranging from industry structure to issues management, from production research to marketing.

The Montana Stockgrowers Foundation will ensure funding for one participant for the full cost of the tour along with travel expenses. Remaining expenses are the responsibility of the participant, who will be chosen from those who apply. Participants must be a member of Montana Stockgrowers Association and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

To learn more about the Young Cattlemen’s Conference and to complete an application, visit the MSGA website, mtbeef.org/young-cattlemens-conference. In addition to the form questions, two letters of reference are required to complete the application process. All applications must be complete and postmarked or received by March 1, 2017. Please mail or fax to MSGF at the following address: Montana Stockgrowers Association | Attn: YCC, 420 N. California St.  Helena, MT  59601.

If you have any questions about the application process or YCC trip, please call the MSGA Office at (406) 442-3420 or e-mail jesse@mtbeef.org.

NCBA and PLC Accepting Applications for Summer Internships

Open Positions Include Public Policy Intern and Semester Law Clerk

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council’s government affairs office in Washington, D.C., is accepting applications for a 2017 Summer public policy intern as well as a semester law clerk. The deadline to submit an application for either position is March 1, 2017.

The internships give college students the opportunity to work alongside staff on a range of issues that impact U.S. cattlemen and women. The interns will work closely with the lobbying team on Capitol Hill and assist with NCBA and PLC’s regulatory efforts, providing college students a one-of-a-kind view into the policy making process.

Producer-led and consumer-focused, NCBA is the nation’s oldest and largest national organization representing America’s cattle producers. PLC is the only organization in Washington, D.C., dedicated solely to representing cattle and sheep ranchers that utilize federal lands. The organizations work hand-in-hand on many issues, sharing office space in the heart of the nation’s capital.

The public policy internship will give students an opportunity to learn about career options and provide practical experience. From tax and trade to environmental and food safety regulations, interns will work on a variety of issues and have the opportunity to work specifically in the area of their interest. College juniors, seniors and graduate students are encouraged to apply.

The summer law clerk will provide support to NCBA’s Environmental Counsel on issues relating to environmental legislation and regulations that impact beef producers. The position will also work closely with the Executive Director of the Public Lands Council on issues relating to Federal lands management, grazing, and the Endangered Species Act. To apply for the law clerk position, students must currently be enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school.

The full-time internship and law clerk positions will begin May 22, 2017 and end August 25, 2017. To apply for the public policy internship or law clerk position, visit www.beefusa.org.

Week 7 || 65th Legislative Session

Listen and Kori Anderson and Jay Bodner sit down to discuss the bills affecting Montana’s ranching community.

House Bills

Appropriations Committee

HB 126 – Ray  Shaw HD 71 – MSGA supported this bill. It passed 2nd reading 94-6 and was referred to the Appropriations Committee. This bill is important because it retains MSU Extension as lead in the private applicators license training.

Natural Resources Committee 

HB 433 – Bradley Hamlett HD 23 – MSGA will support this bill. It clarifies a city or town may not condemn water or water rights if the water or water right is used primarily for agricultural purposes.

Judiciary Committee

HB 427 – Austin Knudsen HD 34 – MSGA will support this bill. This bill clarifies an owner of any property is not liable for damages or injury to a volunteer firefighter of a rural fire district, fire service area, or fire company while the firefighter is engaged in fire suppression activities on the owner’s property.

Agriculture Committee

HB 338 – Casey Knudsen HD 33 – MSGA will oppose the original bill, but have worked with the sponsor on amendments.

a. Currently Pasture Permits are only allowed through DOL for adjoining counties.  This bill would allow these permits to be issued for livestock to travel across multiple counties if they are going to the livestock owners privately deeded land.

HB 419 – Willis Curdy HD 98 – MSGA will oppose this bill. This bill would remove the provision that any movement of bison be certified by the state veterinarian as brucellosis-free. This would put the livestock at risk of expose of brucellosis outside the DSA.

Senate Bills

Natural Resources Committee

HB 124 – Sharon Stewart-Peregoy HD 42 – MSGA supports this bill; it is a water policy sponsored bill. Newly appointed water commissioners shall complete at least one educational program prior to administering water. It passed the House 98-2.

Judiciary Committee

SB 207 – Frederick (Eric) Moore SD 19 – MSGA supports as a private property right. If an eminent domain is exercised pursuant to this section, the location of any heritage properties or fossil remains on or beneath land, rights-of-way, or easements obtained for the common carrier pipeline is confidential and may not be disclosed by the entity exercising eminent domain

MT Department of Revenue mails livestock reporting forms for March 1 reporting deadline

The Montana Department of Revenue is mailing livestock reporting forms this week to Montanans who own livestock and need to meet upcoming reporting and payment deadlines.

 

About 18,500 livestock owners who reported last year will receive reporting forms. All livestock owners need to report by March 1, 2017, any livestock they owned as of February 1. Livestock owners can file online at ReportYourLivestock.mt.gov or submit the hardcopy form. 

 

Livestock owners who have not reported in the past need to report online or fill out a reporting form available from revenue.mt.gov/property-forms or their local Department of Revenue office.

 

Livestock per capita fees are due May 31. Livestock owners who do not pay their per capita fees when they report will receive their bill in early May with payment due May 31, 2017.

 

“The department wants to make it more convenient for livestock owners to report their livestock and pay their fees,” said Director Mike Kadas, Montana Department of Revenue. “The online system is efficient and secure, which makes it easier for livestock owners to do business in Montana.”

 

For more information, visit ReportYourLivestock.mt.gov or call toll free 1-866-859-2254, in Helena 444-6900.