Sharing the common bond of conservation

Ranch nominations open for Environmental Stewardship Award Program

 

Montana’s ranchers, conservationists, wildlife biologists, water quality experts, range scientists and hunting advocates share an incredible common bond: they each love the land and care about the animals and natural resources that depend on it.

“There’s no doubt we have more in common than most of us think,” Jesse Tufte, the program officer for World Wildlife Fund’s Sustainable Ranching Initiative said. She’s especially keen on the state’s cattlemen and women who put in much of the legwork to conserve and steward the health of grasslands. “We need to learn from, listen to and understand how we can keep ranchers ranching, because they contribute so much to conservation.”

For more than 25 years, the Montana Stockgrowers Association has proudly sponsored and honored ranchers across the state with the Environmental Stewardship Award Program. Today, they partner with the Montana Beef Checkoff and conservation organizations like the World Wildlife Fund to share the full picture of the impact ranchers have with their environmental stewardship practices.

The program recognizes the role ranchers and private landowners play in the stewardship and conservation of healthy ecosystems in the state. Nominations for the award are now open.

Lon and Vicki Reukauf, from Terry, Montana, were one of seven ranches in the nation recently recognized in the award program at the National Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville. They were the 2016 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award Program honorees and 2017 Region IV winners.

“We don’t have a show place for a ranch,” Vicki said. “We’re just doing what we’ve always done to take care of the land and make sure this place is better for the next generation. We just realized that if we didn’t step forward to share our story about stewardship and conservation, someone else would tell that story for us, and it might not be accurate.”

The Environmental Stewardship Program is an opportunity to honor and showcase those ranchers who go the extra mile in the conservation, preservation and enhancement of the natural resources on their land. Ranches can be nominated for the award before May 15 at www.mtbeef.org.

The Reukauf’s Cherry Creek Ranch was recommended for the award by their Prairie County District Conservationist, a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks coordinator of landowners/sportsman relations and their local Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist.

Sidney, Montana rancher Jim Steinbeisser chairs the state’s Environmental Stewardship Award Program committee. The committee consists of a team of ranchers with the Montana Stockgrowers Association who are focused on showcasing how innovative stewardship and good business go hand-in-hand. He says the award program is a place to start an open, honest dialogue in ranching communities and Montana cities about how ranchers care for their land and livestock.

“Ranchers in general are just humble people. We don’t want to brag or pat ourselves on the back, but that’s not what this award is about,” he said. “It’s about sharing the facts of environmental stewardship and the story behind why it matters so much to us. We know it’s imperative to our livelihoods that we reach out to our customers and show them what we do and how we do it, and to encourage our fellow ranchers to do the same.”

The award nomination process is an opportunity for county conservation districts, water districts, wildlife organizations or other local and state agencies focused on conservation and multiple land use to recognize partnerships with ranchers who help them accomplish mutual goals. Any Montana Stockgrowers Association member who is actively working to leave the land better for the next generation would be an ideal candidate.

“The Environmental Stewardship Program has now gone far beyond encouraging fellow ranchers to improve the management of our resources,” Steinbeisser said. “Now we want to focus on reaching out to our customers and consumers so we can share what we do on our ranches and how we manage our resources to provide safe, healthy food while caring for the land.”

Nominations may be submitted online at www.mtbeef.org before May 15. The winning ranch will then have the assistance of a professional writer and photographer to capture their ranch’s story – their family’s legacy of caring for the land and livestock – to represent Montana in the regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program. The winner will be recognized at the Montana Stockgrowers Annual Convention and Trade Show in Billings this December.

To learn more, visit www.mtbeef.org, or contact Kori Anderson at kori@mtbeef.org or call (406) 603-4024.

 

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Pictured above (top left) is 2016 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award and 2017 Region IV winners Lon and Vicki Reukauf of the Cherry Creek Ranch near Terry, Montana.

 

Pictured above (right) Jim Steinbeisser, Sidney, Montana rancher, Montana Environmental Stewardship Award Program committee chair and Montana Stockgrowers Foundation board member.

Tester Announces Bill to Ban Brazilian Beef

Senator Calls for Import Ban Following the Sale of Rotten Meat

 

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced legislation to temporarily ban the importation of Brazilian beef to protect American consumers from consuming rotten meat.

 

Following news that Brazilian meatpackers have been exporting rotten beef and trying to cover it up with cancer-causing acid products, Tester’s bill will place a 120-day ban on Brazilian beef imports. A 120-day ban will provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture time to comprehensively investigate food safety threats and to determine which Brazilian beef sources put American consumers are risk.

 

“We must take decisive action to ensure no family in Montana or anywhere else in this country is exposed to the danger of deceptive Brazilian beef processors,” said Tester, who butchers his own beef on his farm near Big Sandy, Mont. “Montana producers raise the best beef in the world and are held to the highest safety standards.  We cannot allow harmful food to come into our markets and endanger our families.”

 

I applaud Senator Tester’s decisive action,” said Errol Rice Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “The safety and integrity of our beef products is important for ranchers and consumers and we cannot have this dangerous product flooding our markets.”

 

In August of last year, Tester criticized the USDA’s decision to allow Brazilian beef imports to flood America’s markets.  He expressed fears about the safety of Brazil’s product.

 

In 2015, Tester successfully blocked the importation of Brazilian beef from regions where foot-and-mouth disease was prevalent.

 

Montana Stockgrowers Association commends confirmation of Representative Zinke

Helena (March 1, 2017) – The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) today applauded the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

MSGA Executive Vice President, Errol Rice noted Zinke’s experience living in the west gives him a unique perspective of public land issues.

“We are excited to see the confirmation of Congressman Zinke,” said Rice. “He has a thorough knowledge of natural resource issues and how the management of said issues impact the states. Representative Zinke has been a great advocate for Montana and ranching during his tenure in Congress. We look forward to continuing to be a resource for him on the complex and diverse issues that impact not only Montana but the nation.”

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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.

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.

Montana Stockgrowers Foundation offers Scholarship

Montana_Stockgrowers_Foundation_LogoFinalThe Montana Stockgrowers Foundation is offering an Educational Heritage Scholarship in the amount of $1,000. This annual scholarship is awarded to a MSGA student member.

Last year the award was awarded to Amanda Williams of Miles City, Mont. She currently attends Montana State University where she is majoring in Animal Science with a minor in Rangeland Management and Ecology.

To be eligible, students must be currently enrolled in college and have completed at least one semester in college, be a member of Montana Stockgrowers Association, or have at least one parent who is a member, and demonstrate a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.

Applicants must complete the application form, include a copy of their current transcript, write a 500-word essay discussing their educational pursuits and what they hope to do with their education, and include two letters of recommendation.

Applications are due April 1, 2017. Students can apply online at http://bit.ly/MSGF2017EHS.

For more information on these scholarships and to apply online, visit the MSGA website at http://www.mtbeef.org. For questions, please email Jesse Gill at jesse@mtbeef.org. If you are interested in these scholarships but are not currently a member of MSGA, join today. Student memberships start at just $20.

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The Montana Stockgrowers Foundation of the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established to ensure the future of Montana’s cattle industry through education, conservation, and leadership.

Montana CattleWomen Inc. offer $1000 Memorial Scholarship for the 55th Consecutive Year

For the fifty-fifth consecutive year, Montana CattleWomen, Inc. is offering a $1000.00 scholarship to a student from a Montana home that is enrolled in one of the state colleges or universities. Preference will be given to an applicant majoring in a field beneficial to the livestock industry.

To qualify for this award, a student must currently be at least a sophomore (in college) and have a grade point average of 2.7 or better. The scholarship will be given to the student who is determined to have the best balance of grades, citizenship, and financial need. The winner will be announced after May, 2017.

Application information will be available at college Financial aid Offices throughout Montana.  The application form is available on the Montana CattleWomen website: https://montanacattlewomen.org/programs/scholarships/.  The application is an online form with the references and official transcripts to be submitted in hardcopy by regular mail to: MONTANA CATTLEWOMEN INC. OFFICE, 420 N. California, Helena, MT 59601 

Interested students may go on-line to our website: montanacattlewomen.org to find all necessary information in order to complete the application. Or they may contact the Scholarship Chair Cheryl Curry by phone (406) 279-3561 or email her genec@3rivers.net. COMPLETED APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED ONLINE AND LETTERS OF REFERENCE AND OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS SENT TO THE MONTANA CATTLEWOMEN INC. OFFICE (420 N. California, Helena, MT 59601) POSTMARKED NO LATER THAN APRIL 15, 2017.

This memorial scholarship is funded entirely by donations given in memory of friends and loved ones of Montana CattleWomen.

MSGA applauds introduction of the death tax repeal act of 2017

The Montana Stockgrowers Association today applauded the introduction of legislation that would repeal the death tax.

This week U.S. Reps. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) introduced The Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017 in the House while U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

“MSGA has been advocating for the repeal of the death tax since its reinstatement in 2011,” said MSGA Executive Vice President Errol Rice. “This legislation will remove a burdensome tax that forces many ranches to go out of business rather than continuing on to the next generation.”

The death tax has been a huge barrier for family owned ranches, forcing them to pay based on the non-liquid value of assets; this has caused many families to sell off all or part of the ranch in order to pay the death tax. The removal of this tax will help ensure the future of family-run ranches in Montana.

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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.

Linda Swanz Named “Ranching Woman of the Year”

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Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) recently recognized Linda Swanz as “Ranching Woman of the Year”. The announcement was made Friday, December 9 during the 132nd MSGA Annual Convention and Trade Show at the Radisson Hotel in Billings.

Linda (Hannah) Swanz grew up in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains south of Moore, MT. She is the daughter of J.C. (Jack) and Betty Hannah. Linda has four siblings—John (Jean) Hannah of Torrance, CA; Marge Hannah of Helena; and Carol (Pete) Hannah Hinson of Billings. Linda graduated from Moore High School and then the University of Montana and went on to work as a social worker.

She married John Swanz in 1968 and a few years later they moved to their current home, a ranch in the Snowy Mountains east of Judith Gap. Linda and John have two children, Lisa and Jason. Linda has dedicated her life to ranching, and by extension, her family, for the past 48 years. A constant presence in the life of her family, raising her children, and now continuing to be a huge part in the lives of her four grandsons.

This year’s Ranching Woman of the Year has always been there to lend a helping hand:  from turning out pairs during calving, making sure everyone had a meal during brandings and shipping, hauling trailers, keeping the house and kids running, and even driving that old self-propelled square baler…even though her feet didn’t reach the pedals!

Linda is involved in the Central Montana Cattlewomen, the Montana Cattlewomen, and the Montana Beef Council. She was a 4-H leader for many years, has received honorary FFA degrees, and has been involved in numerous other agricultural and community related activities.

The Ranching Woman of the Year award is an annual honor presented during MSGA’s Annual Convention and Trade Show. Contact the MSGA office at (406) 442-3420 to find out how you can nominate someone for next year’s recognition. To learn about previous honorees, visit mtbeef.org/ranching-woman.

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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.

Ismay Rancher Wins Ford Truck at Stockgrowers Convention

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Jess Drange of Ismay, MT was the lucky winners of a 2016 Ford Super Duty pickup given away by Montana Ford Stores and Montana Stockgrowers Association at the 132nd Annual MSGA Convention and Trade Show.

 

 

The Drange family is very excited to be this year’s recipients. After the drawing, Jess announced he will be driving the truck all over the state! Each year Montana Ford Stores donates a new Ford pickup to be given away to one lucky MSGA member attending the Annual Convention and Trade Show.

 

“The winning partnership with Montana Stockgrowers Association and Montana Ford Stores continues to grow and prosper,” according to MSGA President, Bryan Mussard of Dillon. “Each Fall we enjoy driving across the state visiting participating dealerships, thanking them for their commitment to agriculture and the Montana Stockgrowers.”

 

2016 was the eighth year of partnership between MSGA and Montana Ford Stores. MSGA Rancher, Feeder, Stocker and Young Stockgrower members are eligible to win the truck. An entry form must be completed and the member must be present at Annual Convention when the truck is given away.

 

The Montana Stockgrowers Association meets annually to discuss and vote on policy that guides the Association activity representing its members. To learn more about MSGA programs and membership, visit mtbeef.org or contact the office in Helena, (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.

Ranchers meet in Billings to elect leaders and set policy

800 ranchers from across the state gathered in Billings, MT Dec 7-9 at the Radisson Hotel for the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s 132nd Annual Convention and Trade Show.

The three-day convention featured several speakers to help ranchers learn about innovative tools and technologies available in the industry. Highlights also included nightly NFR viewing and Calcutta auction, live music from Insufficient Funds Band, over $100,000 in prizes awarded and a trade show with 100 exhibitors representing many services across the ranching industry.

Members had the opportunity to discuss and vote on resolutions that guide policy activity for the Stockgrowers Association leading into the 2017 legislative session. Important topics of discussion included wildlife and disease management, water law and tax policies.

Tracy Brunner, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, highlighted Thursday’s Opening General Session, sharing the priorities of ranchers at a national level.

During the Northern Ag Network Lunch, ranchers learned more about exports and the global market from John Hinners, Jr., Assistant Vice President of Industry Relations with U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Members elected new directors and officers while in Billings. Bryan Mussard of Dillon, MT was elected President of MSGA. Bryan, along with his wife, Marcia, and family operate Reminisce Angus which sells 100 bulls annually and runs 350 mother cows. Bryan has been actively involved in the commercial feeding business for 40 years.  His operation weans, backgrounds, and develops 10-12,000 head of cattle annually and collects genetic data for customers through their Tracker marketing program. Bryan also manages ranches through the Big West Management Program. He will serve a two-year term through December 2018. Fred Wacker of Miles City was elected First Vice President and Jim Steinbeisser of Sidney was elected Second Vice President. They will also serve two-year terms through December 2018.

Convention coverage, photos, videos and information about membership programs can be found on the Montana Stockgrowers Association Facebook page or website, mtbeef.org.

The following are highlights in recognitions and awards during the Convention:

-Elections were held to fill positions on the Board of Directors due to expiring terms. Bryan Mussard of Dillon was elected as the new President of MSGA. Dan Moore of Miles City was elected to represent the Southeast District. Shane Eaton of Terry was elected to represent Southeast ranchers. Ed Fryer of White Sulphur Springs was elected to represent South Central ranchers. Race King of Dillon was reelected to serve a second term. Outgoing Board members include Tim Todd of Ryegate representing the South Central district, Terry Haughian of Kinsey representing the Southeast District, and Jim Steinbeisser of Sidney representing the Northeast District.

-Lacey Ehlke of Townsend was elected to a second term as Chair of the Young Stockgrowers committee. Tyrel Obrecht of Lewistown was re-elected as Vice-Chair. Ehlke and Obrecht will represent the Young Stockgrowers on the MSGA Board of Directors.

-The 2016 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award (ESAP) was presented to Two Creek Monture Ranch of Ovando, MT. The award was accepted by ranch managers Wayne and Karalee Slaght with their family. The ranch is a commercial cow/calf operation near Ovando, which exemplifies the qualities of ranchers focused on environmental stewardship, sustainability and conservation. As Montana ESAP winners, Two Creek Monture will compete at the regional level for the national ESAP recognition in Denver next summer.

-Linda Swanz was recognized as the Ranching Woman of the Year. Linda grew up in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains south of Moore, MT. She and her husband, John, have a ranch in the Snowy Mountains east of Judith Gap. Linda and John have two children, Lisa and Jason. Linda has dedicated her life to ranching, and by extension, her family, for the past 48 years.

 

-12 Cattlemen’s College workshops offered attendees several great opportunities for interactive learning about the tools available to improve management and record keeping on their ranches. Topics covered included cattle marketing, estate planning, nutrition, reproduction and cattle health.

-Montana Ford Stores continued their sponsorship for the eighth year to give one lucky MSGA member a 2016 Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup. This year’s winner was Jess Drange. Jess and his wife, Junita, ranch at their ranch near Ismay.

-For the second year, Montana Massey Ferguson dealers donated a tractor lease, which was raffled on Friday evening. Incoming President, Bryan Mussard of Dillon, won the 8-month/200-hour lease on the 130-hp tractor and loader. NutraLix donated a saddle, which went to Marian Hanson.

-Top Hand Club recognition was awarded to Bo Bevis of Winnett, who received a trip to Nashville, Tennessee for the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention.

-Policy meetings offered opportunity for attendees to hear updates on several issues affecting ranches, environmental and agricultural policy issues in the state. Representatives from Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Department of Livestock, Public Lands Council and USMEF were on hand to provide updates and insight on current events.

The Montana Stockgrowers Association meets annually to discuss and vote on policy measures, which guide the Association in representing its members on local, state and federal issues. MSGA’s 2016 MidYear membership meeting will take place June 9-11 in Great Falls. To learn more about Stockgrowers programs or membership, visit mtbeef.org or contact the office in Helena, (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.

[Hi-res photos are available for download on Flickr at http://bit.ly/2016MSGA. Contact Montana Stockgrowers for more information – (406) 442-3420]