‘Benefits beyond the ranch’

Townsend ranching family honored with 2018 Environmental Stewardship Award for influential results in caring for water, wildlife, soil and ranching business.

 

The Hahn Ranch was honored as the 2018 Environmental Stewardship Award winners Dec. 13 at the Montana Stockgrowers’ Annual Convention in Billings. The award recognizes cattle ranchers who are exemplary stewards of the land, livestock, wildlife and natural resources.

The family has been ranching in the Missouri River Valley near Townsend for more than 100 years, working to preserve and enhance their natural resources for generations to come. Chuck Hahn, Dusty Hahn and Cory and Jennilee Bird accepted the award on behalf of the family ranch.

The ranch was nominated for the award by collaborators with the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) for their partnership on projects that have benefited fisheries and water quality on the ranch and for downstream users. But their conservation practices expand far beyond the creek beds of their southwestern Montana ranch.

Ron Spoon, a FWP fish biologist, has worked with the Hahn family since 1990.

“I believe Chuck and his family provide a valuable example of how a long-term ranching operation can simultaneously create agricultural products and foster clean water,” Spoon says.  “Folks that collaborate with Chuck will know that he thoroughly protects the function of the ranching operation, but they know he genuinely pushes for solutions that benefit resources beyond the ranch.”

In addition to cattle, the diverse family ranch supports hay, small grains and forage crop farming, a trucking company and a pheasant hunting enterprise. The multi-generational ranch includes Chuck, his sons Dusty and Buck Hahn, his brother John Hahn, sister Bev Bird and her son Cory and wife Jennilee and matriarch Dorothy Hahn.

For nearly 30 years, the Hahn family has worked cooperatively with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), Broadwater Conservation District (BCD), the Broadwater-Missouri Water Users Association (BMWUA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Big Sky Watershed Corps (BSWC), Montana Ditch, and Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on restoration and conservation efforts on Deep Creek.

Between 1,000 and 3,000 Brown Trout annually migrate out of Deep Creek into the Missouri River. The Deep Creek waterway also provides irrigation and stock water on the Hahn Ranch. The family played a pivotal role in the installation of the Montana Ditch siphon, which ensured Deep Creek’s function as a free-flowing, connected nursery and cold water refuge in this blue ribbon fishery.

They’ve continued to work collectively with neighboring landowners and agencies to improve riparian health on the creek, conserve water use while protecting their agricultural production and show marked improvements in stream flow and water temperatures over the past two and a half decades.

“Water is one of the most precious resources, especially in the West,” Dusty Hahn says. “So anything that we can do to conserve and enhance that resource, we’re interested in. It helps everybody along the watershed of the Missouri and ultimately that drains into the Mississippi, and that’s important for us as agriculturalists.”

They’ve also prioritized preserving open spaces on their western landscape.

In 1998, the ranch enrolled in Broadwater County’s first conservation easement with the FWP to maintain 1,680 acres for agricultural purposes in perpetuity. The land sits next to the nationally unique Elkhorn Wildlife Management Unit and now provides a critical link between blocks of federal land to prevent further urban development.

“If we’re not able to have a viable land base for livestock grazing, we’re going to be seeing a lot more of these arid landscapes being put into development,” Chuck says. “So the easement keeps those areas open and it gives us a chance to continue grazing.”

The easement allowed the ranch to expand a more efficient rest-rotational grazing system between their private and publicly leased ground, while also providing financial flexibility for expansion to make room for more family members on the ranch.

Their grazing plans on public and private lands are designed to benefit wildlife habitat and sustain their livestock, which work symbiotically to improve the health of the rangeland.

“This wide diversity of wildlife indicates how well the land and vegetative communities occurring on the Hahn Ranch are being managed as a whole,” FWP Conservation Technician Fred Jakubowski said.

The family also manages their farmland to simultaneously benefit their business, the livestock and wildlife. Growing both cash crops and forage crops extends their grazing season, allows for longer rest periods on the rangeland and improves organic matter and biodiversity in farmed soil. Incorporating cattle into the cropping system is essential to its success.

“By using cover crops and the no-till to enhance the soil health, we’re able to keep the soil organisms alive as long as we can during the year,” Chuck Hahn says. “The livestock are there to help incorporate that plant mass back into the soil.”

As recipient of this year’s award, the Hahn Ranch will be nominated for the regional ESAP award, which will be announced at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association summer conference in July 2018. The award is sponsored in a partnership between the Montana Stockgrowers’ Foundation, the Montana Beef Council and beef producers with Check-off dollars, and the World Wildlife Fund.

“Without conservation, we would not be here today,” Chuck says. “Our livelihood depends on the soil, it depends on the ranges, it depends on our livestock. It’s all a part of our life; it’s a part of what makes our living as well. And it’s what makes us happy.”

Since its inception in 1991, the Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) has honored ranchers across the United States who implement practices the positively impact their land, livestock, wildlife, water and the ecological landscape as a whole.

 

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Editor’s note: Word count = 921. Photographs of Chuck Hahn, Dusty Hahn and the Hahn family are below. Additional images of the ranch and images of conservation practices are available on request.

Chuck Hahn

Dusty Hahn

Hahn Family

CONSERVATION ON THE HAHN RANCH // BY THE NUMBERS:

  • The Hahn Ranch has enrolled 1,685 acres in the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Block Management Program annually since 1996. Each year, roughly 900 hunter days are recorded on the Hahn Ranch.
  • The family enrolled 1,680 acres of their ranch in Broadwater County’s first conservation easement, providing a critical link between blocks of BLM and Forest Service lands to prevent urban development, establish a more efficient rest rotation grazing system and provide public/private land access.
  • Following the installation of the Broadwater-Missouri Canal siphon in 1991, Brown Trout spawning has increased significantly. In 1991, less than 10 Deep Creek brown trout spawning redds were located in certain locations along the creek. In 2016, one location on the Hahn Ranch noted as many as 75 redds.
  • Streamflow has tripled in a commonly dewatered reach of Deep Creek following 2012 irrigation projects that included the relocation of irrigation diversion and pumping system.
  • All streams naturally increase in water temperature as water travels downstream. While Deep Creek used to warm up by 8 degrees Fahrenheit in the lower 13 miles of stream, but now warms by 2.5 degrees as a result of changes with irrigation practices.
  • With the use of no-till farming methods and the incorporation of forage crop and livestock on their farm ground, organic matter in their farmed soil has moved from an average of three percent to closer to five percent. According to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, native grassland range in the state is typically comprised of about four percent organic matter.

 

 

 

 

Montana Stockgrowers Foundation to host fire and drought seminar

Producers to discuss challenges and options following fire and drought

Montana Stockgrowers Foundation has joined with the Southeast Montana Livestock Association and the MSU Extension Service to provide a premier program to help livestock producers navigate management challenges following a devastating fire and drought season. Experts from around the country will address issues including how to manage the tax ramifications of drought influenced decisions, insurance, and risk management tools to assist in managing future risk. The program will begin at 1:00 pm, November 15 at the Range Riders Museum in Miles City, Montana. This event is free to the public.

For additional information, please contact the MSGA office at 406.442.3420.

 

Speakers:

Amy Iverson is a CPA in the Billings office of Wipfli CPA’s and Consultants. She specializes in working with those involved in agriculture and will present information on what options you have to manage tax issues related to decisions that are commonly made during the financial stress caused by drought conditions.

Brandon Willis is the owner of Rancher’s Insurance, LLC located in Utah. His expertise is helping ranchers manage their production risk through the use of forage, pasture, and rangeland insurance products. Brandon will provide information on how to decide if the available products might fit you particular situation and the mechanics of utilizing the various products.

Dr. Janna Kincheloe is the NDSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist located at the Hettinger Research and Extension Center. She will provide information on production strategies to manage through a drought. These include developing a drought management plan, efficient utilization of forages and alternative feeding options.

Dr. Andy Roberts, USDA-ARS Fort Keogh, Animal Research Scientist, research will be presented by Andy that shows how you can reduce the input cost of your cow herd while maintaining productivity through changes in your heifer development program.

Lance Vermeire, USDA-ARS Fort Keogh, Rangeland Ecologist. Lance has done extensive study on the effects of grazing on rangeland production following fire and drought. He will present strategies that allow for recovery of the range condition in the presence of grazing animals.

 

At Tester’s Urging, USDA Halts Importation of Brazilian Beef

Montana Producers Praise Tester for Protecting Consumers from Tainted Meat

 

(U.S. Senate)– Following Senator Tester’s repeated calls for a ban, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a suspension of all imports of Brazilian beef until safety concerns are addressed.

 

“I’m glad to see USDA has listened to our multiple demands to protect American consumers and producers across Montana,” Tester said. “This is a major win for Montana ranchers and American families. Montanans raise the best beef in the world and the government shouldn’t be undercutting them by importing unsafe, even rotten products from foreign countries.” 

 

Tester has repeatedly called on USDA to halt importation of beef from Brazil, going so far as to introduce legislation to ban Brazilian beef for 120 days until safety concerns could be addressed.

 

Yesterday, Tester called on Secretary Purdue to halt imports after five Brazilian meat-packing plants were removed from the exporter list.

 

Tester questioned Secretary Perdue about the importation of Brazilian beef in an Agriculture Appropriations hearing this month.  He also raised this issue with the Secretary face-to-face during his confirmation process.

 

Montana producers thanked Tester for his leadership on this issue.

 

“We would like to thank Senator Tester for taking the lead on this issue. The safety of our nation’s food supply is imperative to both Montana’s ranchers and consumers,” said Errol Rice, Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

 

“The Montana Farmers Union would like to thank Senator Tester for his efforts to protect Montana ranchers and Montana consumers and applauds the USDA’s decision to halt beef imports from Brazil,” said Alan Merrill, President of the Montana Farmers Union.

 

“USCA appreciates the work done by Senator Tester and his staff in reaching today’s announcement on the ban of Brazilian beef imports to the U.S.,” said Leo McDonnell of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association.  “Senator Tester is a longtime advocate for the U.S. cattle industry and has taken the lead on this issue by providing a strong voice for producers in D.C. The Senator’s repeated calls for action by USDA have been answered and USCA appreciates his commitment seeing this ban through.”

MSGA Applauds News of USDA Halting Import of Fresh Brazilian Beef

Contact:  Kori Anderson
406.442.3420/406.214.5680
kori@mtbeef.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

MSGA Applauds News of USDA Halting Import of Fresh Brazilian Beef

The Montana Stockgrowers Association applauds the announcement by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today, to suspend all imports of fresh beef from Brazil due to safety concerns.

 

“We applaud the decision by USDA to put a ban on the import of Brazilian beef. International trade is an important aspect of our industry, but the safety of our nation’s food supply is imperative to both ranchers and consumers, said Errol Rice Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “We would like to thank Senator Jon Tester for taking the lead on this issue; as well as Secretary Sonny Perdue for taking swift action to initiate the ban.”

 

The USDA release can be found HERE.

 

 

MSGA Comments on Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Delisting

Contact:  Kori Anderson
406.442.3420/406.214.5680
kori@mtbeef.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MSGA Applauds News of Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Delisting

HELENA (June 22, 2017) – Today, the Montana Stockgrowers Association released the following statement in response to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s announcement that the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear is being delisted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA):

“The Montana Stockgrowers Association applauds the action taken by Secretary Zinke and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear,” noted Errol Rice Executive Vice President for the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “This has been a priority of the association for years and this is a critical first step for the State of Montana to regain management of the bear population.”

 

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The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit organization representing nearly 2,500 members, strives to serve, protect and advance the economic, political, environmental and cultural interests of cattle producers, the largest sector of Montana’s number one industry – agriculture.

Montana Cattlewomen Award Scholarship for 55th Year

Third generation Kirby rancher selected as recipient of $1,000 scholarship

The 2017 Montana Cattlewomen’s Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Peter Taylor, who has completed his first year at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law, University of Montana.  Peter is a third generation participant in his family’s ranching business near Kirby, MT.

Peter was one of five highly qualified applicants for the scholarship.

Peter earned his B.A. degree in Geology and Governmental Studies at Bowdoin College, graduating in 2000.  He returned to the ranch and has actively served on the Montana Farm Bureau Federation Board for several years.  It is that position which opened his eyes to the breadth of litigation facing farming and ranching in Montana and also renewed in him a desire to attend law school and take a more active role in defending our industry.

Peter is the son of Walter and Lila Taylor.  Peter and his wife Amanda have 3 young daughters.  He says that ranching is “in his blood”, and he looks forward to being a knowledgeable voice for ranching in the courtroom.

The Montana Cattlewomen’s Scholarship is in the amount of $1000 and is funded through memorials. This scholarship was established in 1963, which makes this the 55thconsecutive year it has been awarded to a worthy student.

As a voice for the producer, Peter will surely be an asset to the agriculture and livestock industry.  Congratulations, Peter.  The Montana Cattlewomen are proud to invest in you!

MSGA applauds news of U.S. Beef heading to China

The Montana Stockgrowers Association issued the following statement regarding the announcement that an agreement has been reached to begin shipping U.S. beef to China:

“Montana ranchers have been waiting for this day for thirteen years,” said Montana Stockgrowers Association Executive Vice President, Errol Rice. “Restored access to China’s 1.3 billion consumers will create an immense market potential for Montana ranchers.”

The Montana Stockgrowers Association is still evaluating the technical aspects of the agreement. Included below are USDA’s specific requirements for exports to China:

  • Beef and beef products must be derived from cattle that were born, raised, and slaughtered in the U.S., cattle that were imported from Canada or Mexico and subsequently raised and slaughtered in the U.S., or cattle that were imported from Canada or Mexico for direct slaughter;
  • Cattle must be traceable to the U.S. birth farm using a unique identifier, or if imported to the first place of residence or port of entry;
  • Beef and beef products must be derived from cattle less than 30 months of age;
  • Chilled or frozen bone-in and deboned beef products are eligible for shipment.  For a complete listing, refer to the FSIS Export Library; and
  • Carcasses, beef, and beef products must be uniquely identified and controlled up until the time of shipment.

 

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The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit organization representing nearly 2,500 members, strives to serve, protect and advance the economic, political, environmental and cultural interests of cattle producers, the largest sector of Montana’s number one industry – agriculture.

Chairman of CFTC to Headline Stockgrowers’ Midyear Meeting

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) has confirmed J. Christopher Giancarlo, acting Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Midyear Meeting held in Great Falls, May 30 – June 1.

“We are excited to have someone as knowledgeable and respected as Chairman Giancarlo joining us for Midyear,” noted MSGA President Bryan Mussard of Dillon, MT. “We look forward to the insight he will share with our members surrounding the recent cattle market volatility and his outlook on the futures market.”

The Midyear Meeting is one of two meetings that is held during the year to set association policy. This year’s meeting is held in conjunction with the Montana Ag Summit; hosted and co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Steve Daines. The summit will bring the nation’s agricultural leaders to Montana, including newly confirmed Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue.

Other Midyear highlights include an update from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; policy meetings; a Tuberculosis update from Montana State Veterinarian, Dr. Marty Zaluski; and a reception held by the Montana Stockgrowers Foundation featuring music by Kyle Shobe and & the Walk ‘Em Boys.

To register or for more information visit www.mtbeef.org or call 406-442-3420.

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The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit organization representing nearly 2,500 members, strives to serve, protect and advance the economic, political, environmental and cultural interests of cattle producers, the largest sector of Montana’s number one industry – agriculture.

EPA Requests Comments on Extending the Timeline for Pesticide Applicator Rule

from Cecil Tharp (MSU Pesticide Education Specialist):

Pesticide applicators should be aware of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pesticide certification and training rule finalized on December 12th, 2016 and published in the Federal Register on January 4. 2017. The implementation of the final rule was extended to May 22nd, 2017; however the EPA is now proposing to extend the implementation of the final rule another 12 months to allow states and stakeholders more time to prepare. EPA has a comment period that expires May 19th to consider extending the final rule another 12 months.

Comments on this rule can be submitted to docket #EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0183
via: https://www.regulations.gov/ on or before May 19, 2017 after the Federal Register notice publishes. See the EPA press release for more details of this comment period.

Details Regarding the EPA Final Rule on Pesticide Certification and Training Rule

The proposed rule applies to those that apply restricted use pesticides (RUP) across the nation. Restricted use pesticides are those deemed by EPA as having the potential to cause unreasonable adverse effects to the environment and injury to applicators or bystanders without added restrictions. Only licensed applicators can use or purchase RUP’s. According to the EPA, stronger standards will reduce risks to applicators, communities and the environment from pesticide exposure. The increased competency requirements will impact approximately one million certified applicators across the nation; with approximately 5,600 private and 2,700 commercial/government applicators in Montana. Changes include a minimum age of 18 for all restricted use applicators with an exemption for private applicator immediate family members for a minimum age of 16, mandatory categories for certain applications, increased competency standards, and annual training for individuals working under the supervision of licensed restricted use pesticide applicators. States can expect variable impacts depending on their pre-existing state minimum requirements. See more details of the rule and impacts in Montana at: http://www.pesticides.montana.edu/documents/news/20170124_PN_EPA_CT.pdf.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: See the EPA certification training rule website. You can view the EPA comparison chart. For any additional questions feel free to contact Cecil Tharp, Pesticide Education Specialist (406-994-5067; ctharp@montana.edu).

Stockgrowers comment on announcement of U.S. beef access to China

Helena, Mont. (May 12, 2017) – The Montana Stockgrowers Association issued the following statement regarding the announcement that an agreement has been reached between the White House and China to restore U.S. beef access:

“As the second largest importer of beef, we are extremely excited that an agreement has been made to restore U.S. beef to China. Montana’s ranchers have been waiting since 2003, to ship the nation’s highest quality beef to China’s 1.3 billion consumers.” Errol Rice, Executive Vice President, Montana Stockgrowers Association.

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The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit organization representing nearly 2,500 members, strives to serve, protect and advance the economic, political, environmental and cultural interests of cattle producers, the largest sector of Montana’s number one industry – agriculture.