Range Riders orientation camp set for May 28-30 in Cameron

Press Release from Keystone Conservation

Range Riders: Supporting the Coexistence of Wolves and Livestock

Bozeman – “How can increasing wolf populations and successful livestock operations coexist?” This is the question to be posed at a three-day workshop scheduled for late May. The Madison Valley Ranchlands Group and Keystone Conservation are offering a forum for sharing information about ranching near wolves and an orientation to range riding for livestock producers and riders. By gathering people raising livestock near wolves and biologists intent on making coexistence work, the orientation offers the chance to gain insight into wolf/livestock interactions and share experience on successful (and unsuccessful) practices.

Wolves represent a major new challenge to livestock production in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. In an attempt to reduce conflict between wolves and livestock, the Antelope Basin Range Riders program began in 2004, as a collaborative effort of the Madison Valley Ranchlands Group and Keystone Conservation. Each summer, Range Riders Jim and Marilyn Powers patrol 35,000 acres of public land in Antelope Basin, near Henry’s Lake on the Montana/Idaho border. The Riders pursue the task of keeping wolves and cattle apart through a combination of vigilant observation, tracking, herding, and non-lethal hazing techniques. They have shown exceptional skill at their work. Very few cattle or wolves have been lost during their tenure, despite growing numbers of wolves. This camp will provide an opportunity for others to learn from their vast experience, as well as a forum for a wide variety of participants to share their expertise.

The Range Riders Orientation Camp will take place on May 28-30, 2009, at the Wall Creek Wildlife Management Area, south of Cameron, Montana. The program will include time afield alongside Range Riders Jim and Marilyn Powers, as well as in-camp presentation and discussion sessions devoted to understanding wolf ecology and the variety of tools and practices that can be applied to reduce wolflivestock conflict. For more information, livestock producers or riders interested in attending the orientation camp should contact Cecily Costello, Keystone Conservation, 406-284-3477, ccostello@keystoneconservation.us or Lane Adamson, Madison Valley Ranchlands Group, 406-682-3259, mvranch@3rivers.net.

About the Madison Valley Ranchlands Group
The Madison Valley Ranchlands Group works to protect the ranching way of life and the biologically healthy open spaces on which ranching depends. See www.madisonvalleyranchlands.org.

About Keystone Conservation
Keystone Conservation has worked to protect and restore native predators and their habitats in the Northern Rockies since 1991. Keystone Conservation pioneers innovative solutions that help people and wildlife coexist. See www.keystoneconservation.us.

MSGA excited to announce partnership with Montana Ford Dealers; members will have chance to win brand new Ford F-150 truck!

Today the Montana Stockgrowers Association announced its exciting new partnership with Montana Ford Dealers, designating Ford “The Official Truck of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.”

“We are so thrilled to have partnered with Ford,” said Tom Hougen, MSGA president. “Ranchers rely on quality, dependable trucks that can hold up to the demands of a working ranch. Ford trucks have a rich history and a strong reputation with ranchers, so we think this is going to be a great program for our members.”

One lucky MSGA member will drive home with full ownership of a 2009 Ford F-150 truck at MSGA’s annual convention in Billings, December 10-12. Must be current MSGA member and present at the Grand Finale Banquet to win.

MSGA is also kicking off its “Spring Membership Roundup.” In honor of MSGA’s 125th anniversary this year, MSGA is offering a special new membership for $125. MSGA will celebrate its 125th anniversary June 10-13 in Miles City. Planned events include a joint anniversary party with the Miles City Club, complete with a traditional pork dinner, period dress and a mustache/beard contest; a breakfast celebrating frontier photographer Evelyn Cameron and honoring 100 year-or-older working livestock ranches; the Stockmen’s Ball; a horse drawn parade down Main Street, including wagon trains; a ranch rodeo; and a street dance. There will also be a golf scramble, a variety of tours in the Miles City area, wonderful music performances, commemorative item auctions and great food!

“If you are not already a member, there has never been a better time to join,” Hougen said. “We are celebrating a great history of serving the cattle industry in Montana, and now members have about a 1 in 500 chance of winning a brand new Ford truck!”

For more information about the MSGA/Ford partnership, MSGA’s 125th Anniversary Celebration, or to find out how to become a member, please visit www.mtbeef.org or call (406) 442-3420.

Montana Livestock Forum, Nutrition Conference set for April 21, 22

From MSU News Service

BOZEMAN — Meaningless information that cattle buyers don’t value any more is one of the many topics that will be discussed during this year’s Montana Livestock Forum and Nutrition Conference in Bozeman.

The conference, titled “They’re Black and They’ve had their Shots … Any other Questions?,” will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, April 21 and 22, at the Gran Tree Inn.

Ranchers will hear a variety of presentations during the annual conference sponsored by the Montana Feed Association and Montana State University Extension. They’ll learn about five places they can save money and five places they can spend it, for example. They’ll hear the results of a National Animal Identification System study on cattle identification, receive an update on MSU’s new Animal Bioscience Building and hear predictions about cattle prices in the next five years. They’ll hear talks on value-added issues, beef industry and consumer demand, and more.

The first speaker in the Beef Cattle Lecture Series will be Ted Schroeder from Kansas State University. The series was established with an endowment created by MSU chemistry professor Paul Grieco and his wife, Barbara, with the MSU Foundation.

Cost to attend both days of the conference is $65. Attending one day only costs $45 for Tuesday and $30 for Wednesday. To register, call (406) 994-3414, send an e-mail to anitag@montana.edu or write Anita Gray, 221 Linfield Hall, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT. 59717.

The conference agenda is:
Tuesday, April 21
11:30 a.m. — Registration.
12:35 p.m. — Welcome and introductions. John Paterson, MSU Extension beef specialist.
12:40 p.m. — The MSU, Montana Feed Association and Montana Department of Agriculture Partnership. Don Siefert, Silent Herder.
12:55 p.m. — Update on MSU’s Animal Bioscience Building and what it means to Montanans. Turk Stovall, Origen.
1:25 p.m. — Five places to save and five places to spend money on the ranch this year. Paterson.
2:15 p.m. — To ID or not ID? Results of the National Animal Identification System study. Gary Brester, MSU.
3 p.m. — Value-added. More than just vaccines. Jane Boles, MSU.
3:15 p.m. — Beef product sampling. Boles and meats class.
3:45 p.m. — They’re black and they’ve had all their shots — and other meaningless information that cattle buyers don’t value any more. Darrell Wilkes, ABS Global.
5 p.m. — Social.
6 to 8 p.m. — Dinner and presentation of scholarships. Keynote address on “Beef Industry and Consumer Demand: Prescription for Prosperity” by Ted Schroeder of Kansas State, first recipient of the Animal and Range Sciences Beef Cattle Lectureship.

Wednesday, April 22
7 a.m. — Judging of student posters, breakfast buffet. Pat Hatfield, MSU.
8 a.m. — Protein supplementation of cattle: Show me the data. Greg Lardy, North Dakota State University.
8:50 a.m. — Fetal programming and heifer development, before and after birth. Rick Funston, University of Nebraska.
9:45 a.m. — Break
10:15 a.m. — Homegrown energy: Systems of forage production for Montana. Dennis Cash, MSU.
11 a.m. — Graduate student award presentation. Hatfield.
11:10 to 11:20 a.m. — Closing comments. Paterson and Seifert.

Jan French named BOL chair

Today, at the beginning of the Board of Livestock meeting, Jan French announced that she had been named chairman of the board. No new appointees were announced. Two seats remain vacant after the resignations of former chairman, Bill Hedstrom, who represented the dairy industry, and Becky Weed who represented the sheep industry.

Weed resigns from Board of Livestock, next meeting March 9 & 10

Earlier this week, the Department of Livestock announced that Governor Brain Schweitzer had accepted the resignation of Becky Weed from the Board of Livestock. Weed was appointed by Schweitzer in 2007 as a representative of the sheep industry.

From our discussions with Weed, it is clear that she was forced to resign. She recently sold the majority of her sheep and Schweitzer cited this as his reason for asking for her resignation–despite the fact that she had informed the administration and industry groups of her plans a month ago and no objection was raised. She still has a few sheep and continues to run her woolen mill at her Thirteen Mile Lamb & Wool Company in Belgrade. There have been other members in the recent past who have had only a small number of the livestock of the industry they represented, so this begs the question of what really prompted Schweitzer to remove Weed from the board? That remains unclear at this point.

Throughout the forced resignation ordeal, Weed has received support from several livestock industry associations despite initially being a somewhat controversial appointment. While not always agreeing with her viewpoints, it is safe to say that most groups recognized the hard work and genuine concern for the livestock industry displayed by Weed.

The seven-member board now has two vacancies, and no chairperson has been appointed to fill the seat of Bill Hedstrom. Presumably, vice chair, Jan French, is filling in during the interim. Last week the appointment of Brett DeBruycker as a representative of the cattle industry was confirmed by the Senate. Ed Waldner, recently appointed swine industry representative, will be up for confirmation later this session.

The next Montana Board of Livestock meeting will be held March 9-10 at the Department of Public Health & Human Services Auditorium (111 N. Sanders; Capitol Complex Map). The meeting is scheduled to run from 1-5 p.m. on March 9, and from 8 a.m.–noon on March 10. For information, call Sherry Rust at (406) 444-9321. Click here for the agenda.

Legislature is heating up…

Things are really starting to heat up at the Legislature this week as legislators try to have their bills heard before the Transmittal deadline. The deadline of Feb. 26 (also the mid point of the session) is quickly approaching and we have heard that any general bill not heard in committee by the 20th will not have much of a chance of surviving. (After Feb.26, bills that have not passed one chamber and moved on to the other will die. Appropriation and Revenue bills have until the last week in March or so.) Next week’s slate is quickly filling up with bills that have the potential to impact Montana’s livestock industry. Below, please find a select list of bills we are watching:

HB 418 – Authorize investor owned livestock slaughter and processing plants (Edward Butcher, R-Winifred). Will be heard by the House Agriculture Committee.
HB 487 – Classify as business inventories certain farm implements and construction equip. (Walter McNutt, R-Sidney) Will be heard by House Taxation Committee today.
HB 254 – Monitor and report on greenhouse gas emissions (Mike Phillips, D-Bozeman). Hearing 2/16/09 in the House Natural Resources Committee.
SB 396 – Alter criteria for permitting certain changes to points of diversion (Bob Story, R-Park City). Will be heard 2/16/09 in the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
HB 482 – State assistance for economic damage caused by brucellosis (David Howard, R-Park City). Will be heard by House Agriculture Committee 2/17/09.
HB 314 – Revise fish and game laws—game animal damage mitigation act (Kendall Van Dyk, D-Billings). Will be heard by House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee on 2/17/09.
HB 558 – Establish the community hunting access partnership (Bill McChesney, D-Miles City). Will be heard by House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee on 2/17/09.
SB 337 – Revise laws governing bison–re: translocation of quarantined bison (John Brenden, R-Scobey). Will be heard by Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee on 2/17/09.
SR 7 – Confirm appointees to Board of Livestock (Donald Steinbeisser, R-Sidney). Will be heard 2/19/09 in the Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee.
SB 183 – Revise wolf policy (Joe Balyeat, R-Bozeman). Will be heard 2/19/09 in Senate Fish and game Committee.
HB 430 – Fine for barbwire fences across navigable water (Anders Blewett, D-Great Falls). Will be heard 2/19/09 in the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee.
HB 455 – Big sky rivers act (Michele Reinhart, D-Missoula). Will be heard 2/19/09 in the House Local Government Committee.
SB 423 – Montana river and stream protection (Verdell Jackson R-Kalispell). Will be heard by Senate Local Government Committee. No hearing scheduled yet.
HB 3 – Supplemental appropriations (includes funding for Brucellosis Action Plan) Will be heard by House Appropriations Committee. No hearing scheduled yet.

***To email your legislator about any of these bills, please click here. Stay tuned for Action Alerts from MSGA on some of these bills.***

Veseth Cattle Company Honored at 2009 Cattle Industry Convention

Dale and Janet Veseth were honored as the Region V Environmental Stewardship Award winners at the 2009 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Phoenix last week. Please click on the video above to see their introduction.

Hedstrom resigns as Board of Livestock chairman

The Department of Livestock has indicated that Bill Hedstrom has resigned as chairman of the Board of Livestock. Hedstrom, from Kalispell, was the board’s dairy representative in addition to his duties as chair. He has served as chair since 2005.

The timing of his resignation followed a hearing on a bill relating to the milk control board, a board that has faced much controversy in the past year. Hedstrom is rumored to have testified at this hearing, though we cannot conclusively link the hearing and the resignation. At this time, there has been no word from the Governor’s office as to a replacement. The next BOL meeting is scheduled for March 9-10 in Helena.

Brucellosis funding would be appropriated from the General Fund in House Bill 3

Funding for the Montana Brucellosis Action Plan (which was given final approval by the Board of Livestock on Jan. 13, 2009) is in House Bill 3, sponsored by Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, by request of the office of Budget and Program Planning. HB 3 would appropriate money to various state agencies for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009. The Department of Livestock would receive $2,375,784 from the General Fund for funding for brucellosis under the bill as it is currently drafted. The balance remaining in the Brucellosis appropriation on June 30, 2009, up to $2 million, is appropriated for fiscal year 2010. The bill also includes $3 million from State Special Revenue for the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation for wildfire suppression. The Crime Control Division would receive $15,000 of State Special Revenue for a domestic violence program and the Department of Transportation would receive $2.6 million of State Special Revenue and $17.4 million Federal Special Revenue for construction.

Government estimates one in 200 children is a vegetarian

A recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found one in 200 U.S. children under 18 years of age is a vegetarian. According to the study, a vegetarian diet is one totally devoid of meat – red or white.

The study is the government’s first estimate of vegetarianism in children. “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007” used data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey to report estimates of complementary and alternative medicine use among U.S. adults and children, including estimates of diet-based therapies. When reporting on vegetarianism in the adult population, the study found adults following a vegetarian diet decreased 0.1 percent from 2002 to 2007.

The Associated Press ran a piece about the study, which was picked up by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Charlotte Observer and the Chicago Tribune. According to the Associated Press piece, vegetarians say it’s animal welfare, not health, that most often causes kids to stop eating meat. According to the article, “Anecdotally, adolescent vegetarianism seems to be rising, thanks in part to YouTube animal slaughter videos that shock the developing sensibilities of many U.S. children.”

Additionally, 31 states and the District of Columbia aired at least one broadcast segment about the report findings. Most segments discussed the number of children vegetarians, what it means to be vegetarian and the potential nutrient deficiencies associated with vegetarianism. Broadcasts often noted most youths turn to a vegetarian diet for animal welfare reasons. The study also has received significant attention online. The Associated Press article was posted to several vegetarian-themed blogs including “Healthy Lifestyle with Vegetarian,” “Miami Vegan Blog” and “The Vegan Treehouse.”

An article by the Center for Consumer Freedom highlighted the fact that the percent of vegetarian children appears to have decreased from 2 percent of Americans aged 6 to 17 in 2001 to the current estimate from CDC of 0.5 percent. According to the article, “An Associated Press story is making the rounds this week concerning a CDC report on vegetarianism among American kids and teens. It’s being touted as evidence that meat-free dieting is on the upswing for youths, but guess what? History shows the data mean just the opposite.”

Although the percent of vegetarian children appears to have decreased in recent years, this study may spark questions about children and meatless diets or about animal welfare. We encourage you to monitor pickup of the Associated Press article in your local newspaper and respond online or in print, as appropriate. In addition, we are mobilizing online response to the piece by producers and third-party experts. Please refer to the messages below to respond to questions about vegetarianism in children. As a reminder, animal welfare talking points are available on the Extranet.

Funded by The Beef Checkoff

CDC Childhood Vegetarianism Report Talking Points:

-CDC’s finding that even a low percent of children are choosing a vegetarian lifestyle is alarming because of the dire importance of proper nutrition to growing and developing bodies and brains.

-The role of high-quality protein in the diet of growing boys and girls can’t be overlooked. Lean beef fits dietary recommendations while also providing valuable nutrients for kids’ growing bodies. Just one serving of lean beef is a good or excellent source of nine essential nutrients: protein, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus, niacin, vitamin B6, iron and riboflavin.

-Children are in a critical state of development and both extreme diets and the epidemic of obesity are leading health issues. Research has found there are a high percentage of girls who do not meet the needs for specific nutrients, such as iron and zinc, both vital to the development of this age group.

-It’s important for children to eat nutrient-rich foods – like lean meats – to keep them energized and attentive throughout the school day. Lean beef is a naturally rich source of several nutrients, including iron, zinc and vitamin B12, which play critical roles in cognitive development and functioning, and help kids remember what they learn at school each day.

Source: NCBA