Board of Livestock to meet Jan. 12-13 in Helena

The Montana Board of Livestock will meet Jan. 12 & 13 in the Scott Hart Auditorium, Scott Hart Building, 303 North Roberts St. (corner of 6th and Roberts), in Helena. On Monday, Jan. 12, the meeting is scheduled to run from 1-5 p.m., and on Tuesday, Jan. 13, the meeting will run from 8 a.m. to noon. Click here to see the agenda. Check back often as the schedule is subject to change. For more information, contact Sherry Rust at (406) 444-9321.

The cattle industry seat vacated by Meg Smith at the September 2008 meeting has not been filled yet, to our knowledge, though rumor has it that current board member Jan French will be moved to fill the cattle seat and another person will be appointed to the swine industry seat. This information has not been confirmed, so we will let you know the facts as soon as we get them. During the November 2008 meeting, Brett DeBruycker of Dutton, president of the Montana Cattlemen’s Association, was appointed to fill the cattle seat vacated by George Hammond at the Sept. meeting. Stay tuned for more information.

Montana’s 61st Legislature convenes today

The 61st Legislature begins today in Helena. The Legislature meets every two years for its regular session lasting for 90 working days. This year’s session will adjourn on April 25. See below for a list of the important dates for the legislature and for links to some of the news coverage leading up to the Legislature. For more information, click on the Montana Legislative Branch website. The Montana Stockgrowers Association will be very active in the legislature this year, as always, so stay tuned for more information!

Key Legislative Dates: (from the Helena Independent Record)

Jan. 5 (Day 1) Opening day, with all new legislators sworn into office.
Jan. 16 (Day 16) Last day for legislators to request general bills to be drafted.
Jan. 24 (Day 17) Last day for legislators to request revenue or tax bills to be drafted.
Feb. 16 (Day 26) Last day for legislative committees to request general bills to be drafted.
Feb. 26 (Day 45) The halfway point and transmittal deadline for all bills, except for budget and tax bills, to be sent from one chamber to the other. Those that miss the deadline automatically die.
Feb. 27-March 1 A short breather. Legislators take transmittal break.
March 2 (Day 46) Second half of Legislature begins.
March 18 (Day 60) Deadline for House to send revenue-estimating resolution to Senate.
March 20 (Day 62) Last day for committees to request revenue or tax bills.
March 26 (Day 67) Deadline for the House to send all transmittal bills to the Senate.
April 10-April 13 Easter break.
April 14 (Day 80) Legislature resumes. Deadline for transmittal of amendments to appropriations bills.
April 16 (Day 82) Deadline for transmittal of amendments to revenue bills and revenue-estimating resolution.
April 25 (Day 90) Adjournment date.

Legislative Headlines

***Email ariel@mtbeef.org to sign up for MSGA’s Daily Update email with headlines related to the Legislature, the cattle industry, politics, the economy, and wildlife and environment.

Legislature convenes today
Montana state officials sworn in
Roster of Montana legislative leaders
Senate leader Story called a pragmatist
Incoming House speaker knows how to fight fires
Schweitzer looking forward to new term
Schweitzer plans few initiatives
Schweitzer’s budget risky, analysis suggests
Budget darkens session’s opening
Finances may help diminish divisions in 2009 Montana Legislature
Legislators face tough test with budget
Gazette Opinion: Shrinking revenue helps lawmakers focus on budget
Guest Opinion: Legislature should support business goals
Legislators’ priorities for session split along party lines
Outdoors issues await lawmakers
Brucellosis: Bill would make state pay for testing
Property reappraisal to dominate tax issues
Energy a hot topic at 2009 session
Carbon capture bill bubbling up in MT Senate
Water, education funding top Juneau’s priorities
Hot-button issues face Bozeman lawmakers
For those with online access, Legislature details a click away
Anyone can have say at Legislature
Legislative lexicon
TV coverage of Legislature expands

News Release: Winter Grazing Seminar Jan. 20 – 21

CHOTEAU, Mont. – Ranchers and others interested in rangeland and livestock management will want to attend the 2009 Montana Winter Grazing Seminar Jan. 20 – 21 at the Choteau Pavilion, in Choteau, Mont.

“We’ve got a great lineup of speakers this year,” said Heidi Olbert, State Coordinator of the Rangeland Resources Program with the Montana Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). “We’ll cover some industry updates, take a look at animal health regulations, and offer some new twists for range management.”

This year’s featured speaker is Trent Loos, whose “Loos Tales” radio show profiles the people, places and culture of rural America, finding the often-untold success stories of modern agriculture. Loos is a sixth-generation farmer from Loup City, Nebraska. To learn about Trent Loos, visit his Web site at www.loostales.com.

Along with Loos, speakers on the first day of the seminar include Charley Orchard of Land EKG with a presentation on pasture monitoring, and Dr. Tahnee Szymanski of the Montana Dept. of Livestock (DOL), who will discuss the agency’s bovine Trichomoniasis program.

Following the speakers, a social hour will begin at the Choteau Pavilion with Shawn Fladager as MC for the evening banquet. Cowboy poet and singer Ken Overcast will provide the entertainment.

The second day will open with an update on the cattle and beef outlook by Kevin Good of CattleFax. Thomas Bass of the MSU Extension Service will have a presentation on new regulations for Animal Feeding Operations and how those regulations will affect ranchers. Thedis Crowe, BIA Rangeland Management Specialist and Mark Maggee, Director of the Blackfeet Land Dept., will discuss grazing opportunities and pasture authorizations. The day will conclude with a panel discussion by local producers, moderated by Teton Extension Agent Mark Majors.

On-site registration opens at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 20. Registration fees are $45.00 prior to Jan. 7 and $50.00 after. For more information, contact John Finch, Administrator, Teton Conservation District at tetoncd@3rivers.net or by phone at (406) 466-5722 ext. 103, or Heidi Olbert, State Coordinator, Rangeland Resources Program at holbert@mt.gov or by phone at (406) 444-6619.

The 2009 Winter Grazing Seminar is hosted by the Teton Conservation District in cooperation with the Governor’s Rangeland Resources Executive Committee and the Montana DNRC.

Source: Montana DNRC

News Release: Interagency Partners Sign Bison Adaptive Management Plan

Contacts:
Al Nash, Yellowstone National Park (307) 344-2010
Lyndsay Griffin, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (970) 494-7410
Marna Daley, Gallatin National Forest (406) 587-6703
Steve Merritt, Montana Department of Livestock (406) 444-9431
Melissa Frost, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (406) 994-6931

The Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) partners on Wednesday signed an Adaptive Management Plan that outlines specific goals, objectives, management actions, and measures for bison management.

The IBMP is a cooperative, multi-agency effort that guides bison and brucellosis risk management in and around Yellowstone National Park. It is an adaptive plan that anticipated future adjustments based upon the best available science, research, monitoring, new information, and experience from field operations.

The Adaptive Management Plan was created in response to a 2008 audit by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), which recommended that the agencies improve their accountability, transparency, and management of bison.

The eight-page plan formalizes and incorporates eight years of research, monitoring, and experience gained since 2000 implementing the IBMP on the ground, as well as the recommendations of the GAO.

The Adaptive Management Plan has three goals:

· Increase tolerance for bison north and west of Yellowstone National Park (in Zone 2) with no unacceptable consequences;
· Conserve a wild, free-ranging bison population;
· Prevent transmission of brucellosis from bison to cattle.

The changes adopted under the Adaptive Management Plan in no way increase the risk of brucellosis transmission from bison to cattle or diminish the conservation of wild, free-ranging bison.

The Adaptive Management Plan will guide IBMP field operating procedures for the 2008-2009 season. The Adaptive Management Plan will be evaluated and the plan will be modified as necessary based on new information, research, and experience.

The five cooperating agencies of the IBMP are the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Montana Department of Livestock, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

For more information about the Interagency Bison Management Plan, visit the website at www.ibmp.info.

News Release: FSA Offers Program for Wildlife Enhancement

Bozeman, MT – The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin signup Jan. 5, 2009 in three areas within Montana through the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program to address local wildlife conservation needs. The three areas include Blaine, Carter, Cascade, Chouteau, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Glacier, Hill, Liberty, McCone, Phillips, Pondera, Powder River, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Teton, Toole and Valley counties.

Enrollment for SAFE is available under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) continuous signup. Continuous signups will automatically be accepted if all eligibility requirements are met. The practices will address wildlife habitat that can be enhanced through the restoration of eligible cropland. Individual practices for each SAFE were developed similar to CRP general signup practices. Contracts are between 10-15 years. Cost-share is available at 50 percent with an additional signing incentive payment of $10/acre/year and a practice incentive payment of 40 percent on the total cost of installing the practice. Practices will be monitored and evaluated to show an improvement to the wildlife habitat.

SAFE allows producers to install practices that benefit high priority State wildlife conservation objectives through the use of targeted restoration of vital habitat.

For further information regarding eligibility criteria, contact your local Farm Service Agency office in any of the counties involved in SAFE. Additional information is available on the Montana Farm Service Agency website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/mt.

Source: USDA Farm Service Agency

2008 MSGA Convention Highlights

This year, despite sub-zero temperatures and terrible road conditions, 644 people attended the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s 124th Annual Convention and Trade Show at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana in Billings, Dec. 11-13. Below, please find some highlights from the convention:

-Tom Hougen of Melstone was elected the 59th President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

-Walter “Watty” Taylor of Busby was elected 1st Vice President. He previously served as 2nd Vice President from 2006-2008.

-Tucker Hughes of Stanford was elected 2nd Vice President. He served on the Board of Directors from the South Central District from 2004-2008.

-New Board of Directors:
Northeast District – Jeff Pattison of Glasgow
Southeast District – Dean Wang of Baker
South Central – Larry Berg of Judith Gap

-Wesley Batista president and CEO of JBS Swift, a division of JBS S.A., currently the world’s largest beef producer and exporter, was unable to attend the convention as planned due to a death in his family. Chandler Keys, vice president of government affairs for JBS Swift, filled in as the keynote speaker at the Opening General Session. He discussed the history of the Batista family and how they built up JBS S.A. from humble roots to being a global meatpacking powerhouse. Keys also described JBS’s business model and explained how the company has made inroads in global markets for both Brazilian and U.S. beef. Chandler fielded many questions from the audience and met with the media after his speech.

-Policy to guide MSGA officers and staff through 2009 was set in a process that began with committee meetings, progressed to the second reading and finished at the third reading. Notable new policies address livestock theft awareness, livestock biosecurity education, horse slaughter, the promotion of U.S. beef, bison reintroduction to the Chares M. Russell Wildlife Refuge, carbon sequestration, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks wolf kill projections, and the Clean Air Act.

-Chances to win a 12-inch fully tooled kid’s saddle, sponsored by Nutra Lix, Basin State Bank, Ruby Valley National Bank, and MSGA, were auctioned off at the Grand Finale Banquet to benefit MSGA’s Advocacy Fund. Harrison Land and Livestock was the original winner, and Mark and Patti Harrison donated the saddle back for one last auction. Tucker Hughes was lured into a bidding war with Bill Donald and Gene Curry and ended up with the saddle with a high bid of $4,800. Overall, $27,300 was raised for the Advocacy Fund which goes toward MSGA’s legislative efforts.

-In addition to being elected 2nd Vice President, serving as emcee of the Grand Finale Banquet on Saturday night, Dec. 13, and being the highest bidder for the kid’s saddle, Tucker Hughes was named MSGA’s “Top Hand” for recruiting 15 new members and won an all-expense trip to Mexico sponsored by Valley Bank of Helena.

-The Cattle Directory Priority Page auction raised $42,000.

-Donna Sitz-Arthun of Billings was named “Ranch Woman of the Year” at the Grand Finale Banquet.

-Chelsea Phipps of Brussett won the Nutra Lix saddle giveaway.

-Rochelle Brownlee of Big Timber won the Torgerson’s LLC lawnmower giveaway.

-Rachel Endecott of Miles City won the WALCO Animal Heath and Intervet /Schering-Plough Animal Health Young Stockgrower membership drawing.

-The Trade Show offered 100 booths with various products and services for convention attendees. On Friday night, the “Night around the Campfire” Trade Show Grand Opening offered four beef dinner stations, entertainment by the Ringling 5, and a silk scarf giveaway. Saturday night’s Trade Show Finale featured a poker run that drew a huge crowd.

– Plans are already underway for MSGA’s 125th Anniversary Celebration to be held in conjunction with MSGA’s mid-year meetings in Miles City, June 10-14, 2009. Stay tuned for more information about this exciting milestone event!

Young Stockgrowers plan to meet in Helena for the Young Stockgrowers Conference

On January 22nd and 23rd, the Young Stockgrowers will be convening in Helena for the 2009 Young Stockgrowers Conference. The conference is held during every legislative session and features a tour of the Capitol building, interactive workshops, educational speakers, meet with local elected legislators and review policies.

The price is $35/person and will be held at the Best Western Helena Great Northern Hotel. For more information, contact MSGA at 442-3420.

Lon and Vicki Reukauf of Cherry Creek Ranch in Terry win brand new truck at MSGA convention

Lon and Vicki Reukauf of Cherry Creek Ranch in Terry were the lucky winners of the 2008 Dodge truck given away at the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s 124th Annual Convention and Trade Show on Saturday, Dec. 13. The Reukauf’s drove away from convention with full ownership of the Dodge Cummins Diesel truck, valued at $40,000, thanks to Lithia Dodge of Billings, First Interstate Bank of Billings, Northern Ag Network, Western Ranch Supply, Pfizer Animal Health, WALCO Animal Health and MSGA. The drawing was open to all MSGA members and required presence at the Grand Finale Banquet to win. The banquet crowd of 450 people roared its approval when Lon’s name was called.

“I didn’t even know they were giving a truck away until the gal at registration asked if we had entered the drawing,” Vicki said later. “So I wrote Lon’s name down. I can’t believe it; the only thing we’ve ever won before was a turkey!”

One member remarked later that the truck couldn’t have gone to better people. MSGA hopes the Reukauf’s enjoy their brand new truck!

124th Annual Convention begins today

MSGA’s 124th Annual Convention and Trade Show has gotten off to a great start with business meetings today at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana in Billings. Meetings include the MSGA Board of Directors, MSGA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation, the Young Stockgrowers Committee, the Grass Conservation Commission, Montana Hereford Association, the Montana Public Lands Council/Montana Association of State Grazing Districts joint board meeting, the Steer of Merit Committee, and the Montana Cattle Feeders. Other events include the Young Stockgrower’s Social, a SimSeminar with the American Simmental Association, the MaPa 200 Club Reception, Young Stockgrowers Dinner, and the “Has Beens” Dinner.

Tomorrow, registration will start at 6:30 a.m. followed by the Billings Chamber of Commerce Pancake Breakfast. At 8 a.m. the Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Montana CattleWomen Opening General Session will kick off. Committee meetings will follow and the Northern Ag Network lunch will begin at noon with a live broadcast. In the afternoon, committee meetings will continue and at 5 p.m. the Night Around the Campfire Trade Show Grand Opening will begin, featuring four beef dinner stations, the Western Ranch Supply Waterhole, entertainment from the Ringling 5 and complimentary silk scarves.

Greenhouse Gas COW TAX

Recently I have been traveling Montana to many of MSGA’s local Stockgrowers Affiliate meetings. One question that was consistently posed to me time and time again was the issue about the Evironmenatl Protection Agency (EPA) imposing a tax on Green House Gas emmissions from cattle. I am posting a statement that came out of EPA just yesterday regarding this issue.

EPA’s Statement on “taxing” livestock GHG emissions:
“It is unfortunate that recent media articles have incorrectly reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to tax emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from livestock.

EPA welcomes public comments from all interested parties on this important issue.

EPA’s greenhouse gas advance notice of proposed rulemaking (GHG ANPR) does not recommend the use of any particular Clean Air Act (CAA) authority, make judgments about a preferred pathway, regulate any emissions or commit to specific next steps to address GHGs.

The GHG ANPR represents EPA’s next step in responding to the Supreme Court case finding that GHGs are air pollutants under the CAA. It examines the interconnections among CAA provisions and implications of applying particular CAA authorities to reducing GHGs. The ANPR also provides a comprehensive, in-depth exploration of the opportunities and challenges application of CAA authorities would present.

More information about the GHG ANPR and how to comment is available online at: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/anpr.html

MSGA continues to monitor this issue and respond accordingly to whatever EPA’s intentions may be.