MSU to host annual agricultural research center field days across Montana

The public is invited to attend free annual field days across Montana to tour and learn about the people, places and projects involved with agricultural research at Montana State University’s College of Agriculture and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station or MAES. Five research stations across the state and a local Bozeman campus farm will each host a field day this summer.

“Statewide field days are a longstanding tradition where we invite the public to tour our facilities, meet our faculty and staff and learn about trends and progress in agriculture research that hopefully makes a difference in their lives,” said Barry Jacobsen, associate director of MAES. “What’s most important about field days is that they serve as an opportunity for statewide producers, farmers, ranchers and agribusiness to share successes and challenges face-to-face with faculty scientists and learn about what the university is doing in response to those challenges and needs. It’s a chance for faculty and stakeholders to engage as an agricultural community and for the university to get feedback on what we need to be focusing on.”

Field days include facility tours, explanations of research projects and results and a chance for citizens, producers, legislators and agribusiness representatives to speak with MSU scientists and Extension agents.

Summer 2017 field days include:

  • Northern Agricultural Research Center, Thursday, June 29: The field day begins at 4 p.m. with tours before and after dinner. The center is located about seven miles southwest of Havre on U.S. Highway 87. (406) 265-6115.
  • The MSU Arthur H. Post Agronomy Farm , Thursday, July 7: The Post Farm will begin tours at 8:30 a.m. followed by lunch. The Post Farm is located eight miles west of Bozeman on U.S. Highway 191. (406) 586-6819.
  • Central Agricultural Research Center, Wednesday, July 12: The field day starts at 9 a.m. and includes a free lunch. The center is located 2.5 miles west of Moccasin on U.S. Highway 87. (406) 423-5421.
  • Northwestern Agricultural Research Center, Thursday, July 13: The field day begins at 2 p.m., with dinner following the tour. NWARC is located near Creston on State Highway 35. (406) 755-4303.
  • Eastern Agricultural Research Center, Wednesday, July 19: The field day begins at 9 a.m. The center is located one mile north of Sidney on State Highway 200. (406) 433-2208.
  • Western Agricultural Research Center, Thursday, July 27: The field day starts at 4 p.m. with dinner at 5 p.m. and a tour following. WARC is located at 580 Quast Lane, Corvallis. (406) 961-3025.

MAES comprises agricultural research of on and off-campus MSU faculty. The research centers are strategically located across Montana to allow research with different soil types, elevations, climate zones and landscapes, and a local advisory council guides the research at each station. The federal Hatch Act of 1887 authorized every national land-grant university to establish an agricultural experiment station, with research reflecting the university’s curriculum and state needs. The Smith-Lever Act authorized the Extension Service in 1914. MSU College of Agriculture, Montana Agricultural Experiment Station and MSU Extension have been cooperatively serving the land-grant mission and the Montana public for the past 100 years.

For more information about the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, visit http://agresearch.montana.edu/maes.html. For more information about the station’s research centers, visit http://agresearch.montana.edu/researchcenters.html.

MSU to honor Jim Hagenbarth as Outstanding Agricultural Leader

BOZEMAN — Jim Hagenbarth of Hagenbarth Livestock in Dillon has been named the 2016 Outstanding Agricultural Leader on behalf of Montana State University’s College of Agriculture and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station. The public is invited to congratulate Hagenbarth at a Montana-made breakfast to be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, in MSU’s South Gym of the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center during the college’s annual Celebrate Agriculture event scheduled for Nov. 11-12 at MSU.

MSU Vice President of Agriculture Charles Boyer said Hagenbarth is a successful and respected agriculture leader for Montana and a great example for current university agriculture students.

“Jim Hagenbarth represents some of the very best of Montana agriculture: commitment to the stewardship of land, resources and people and an impressive dedication to public service,” Boyer said. “We’re pleased to honor Jim with this award, not only for his family’s successful livestock and ranching business, but because he has worked tirelessly to engage in difficult conversations and processes at local and national levels, to find common ground among diverse voices and agendas. In agriculture, that is not easy.”

The award is given annually to individuals or couples who are engaged and well-respected in the state’s agricultural community. Recipients are those who have impacted many with their accomplishments, have a lifetime of achievement in agriculture, are industry leaders or innovative producers and are actively involved in the agricultural community.

Hagenbarth exhibits outstanding leadership in agricultural and public service to Montana and MSU, according to members of the selection committee. The Montana Stockgrowers Association and the MSU Department of Animal and Range Sciences nominated Hagenbarth for the award. Letters of support for his nomination were received from the United States Department of Agriculture, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Department of Natural Resource Conservation and a host of Montana ranchers.

Nominators said Hagenbarth is well-respected among livestock ranchers, wildlife and fisheries biologists, government agencies, special interest groups and watershed groups. They add that he has been an exemplary, composed leader in contentious and high-stakes natural resource discussions and as a farm and ranch policy advocate for Montana producers. He has also successfully forged private and public partnerships in species management protection and for natural resources at state and national levels.

Perhaps Hagenbarth’s most notable influence, according to support letters, is his work with the Montana citizens working group for the Interagency Bison Management Plan, a cooperative, multi-agency effort that guides the management of bison and brucellosis in and around Yellowstone National Park. His work with this effort led him to testify before the U.S. Congress regarding Montana’s cattle and bison interactions, particularly surrounding the brucellosis disease. Additionally, Hagenbarth has lobbied in Washington, D.C. for the Big Hole Watershed Committee, of which he was a founding member and currently serves as vice president. His dedication to the Upper Snake Sage-Grouse Local Working Group resulted in a 38-page plan drafted between citizen ranchers and state and federal agencies to increase sage-grouse populations in the upper Snake River region of Idaho. He has also been an invited speaker to numerous national conventions, including National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the First National Bison Symposium.

Hagenbarth is a volunteer on the Montana Board of Livestock, National Cattlemen’s Association and the USDA-ARS Forage and Range Research lab in Logan, Utah. He has served as a research advisory council member of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station and is active in the Knights of Columbus, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Montana Stockgrowers Association and the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.

Hagenbarth’s family history in Montana’s sheep and cattle industries dates back to statehood, when Hagenbarth’ s grandfather managed 150,000 sheep and 500,000 cattle on nearly two million acres of range. Hagenbarth’s family still owns and manages the 120 year-old cattle ranch today.

Hagenbarth received a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Notre Dame before returning to work on his family’s ranch.

Hagenbarth and his wife, Laurie, have three adult children: Mark, John and Kate.

The selection committee for the Outstanding Agricultural Leader award is comprised of three Montana agriculture representatives, a College of Agriculture faculty member and an MSU student. MSU’s College of Agriculture has presented Outstanding Agricultural Leader awards since 1999.

Contact: Susan Fraser, 994-3601, sfraser@montana.edu

Low-stress stockmanship clinic planned Oct. 7, Miles City

(MILES CITY, Mont.) – Ranchers and students of effective livestock handling have the opportunity to learn from low-stress
stockmanship expert Whit Hibbard on Friday, Oct. 7 in Miles City. Hibbard will present a day-long seminar on stockmanship,
which improves animal productivity, economic performance and human and animal safety. The clinic is hosted by the
Montana Beef Quality Assurance program. The classroom style program will run from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Miles City
Livestock Commission. Cost is $30, which includes lunch.
Trained in the style of legendary livestock handler Bud Williams, Hibbard shares his experience as a working cattleman and
lifelong scholar of animal handling in his clinics. Hibbard is a fourth-generation Montana cattle and sheep rancher and
former national park mounted ranger, and a student of low-stress livestock handling, natural horsemanship, ranch roping,
and facilities design. He believes strongly in the importance and value of stockmanship and is committed to its serious study
and promotion.
Hibbard participated in a major paradigm shift on his family’s ranch, Sieben Live Stock Co. in Adel, Mont., from conventional
to low-stress livestock handling. He was the director of a highly successful two-year project to round up trespass livestock
from Mexico in Big Bend National Park which used a stockmanship approach and similarly walked in wild horses at
Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Hibbard is the publisher and editor of Stockmanship Journal, authors a bi-monthly guest
editorial for Drovers magazine on stockmanship, and teaches clinics on low-stress livestock handling.
More information is available on the event Facebook page. Participants can register at Eventbrite or by calling Bill Pelton at
406.671.5100.

REEF Announces winner of scholarship

MSGA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation announces winner of Educational Heritage Scholarship

Amanda Williams has been chosen as the recipient of the $1000 Scholarship. Amanda is from Miles City, Montana where she grew up on the family ranch, 2DO Ranch. She is currently attending Montana State University where she is majoring in Animal Science with a minor in Rangeland Management and Ecology.

Amanda

Though she is only finishing her second year at MSU, she is already at a junior status. She plans to become a county extension agent after graduation following in the steps of her father, grandfather and grandmother. Amanda believes this will be an excellent career for her because she will be able to work with not only the children of the community but also the adults and producers. Some of her fondest memories have been with members of the community through my jobs and helping people work cattle or working with a group of extension agents.

Another goal for Amanda is to return to the family ranch and try to expand it. She hopes through her coursework at MSU and the many hands on experiences will make her better equipped to help out and expand the ranch. The ranch is one of her favorite places to be and there are few things she enjoys more than working on the ranch or helping someone work cattle.

Amanda is currently serving as the President of the MSU Collegiate Stockgrowers. She is also active in the Range Club, College of Ag Student Council, Collegiate Cattlewomen, Collegiate FFA, Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers, MSU Plant ID team, and the Undergraduate Range Management Exam team. She has been on the Dean’s List twice and the President’s List!

Amanda hopes to continue her education throughout her life, whether that is through college classes, work or life experience. Her education at MSU will be crucial in her career path of extension and expansion of the family ranch. Amanda plans to continue her education for years to come and help others, as well as remain involved in the cattle industry and Montana Stockgrowers Association.

Congratulations to Amanda, MSGA looks forward to seeing your future accomplishments!

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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.

Environmental Stewardship 2016 Winner | Cherry Creek Ranch

Reukauf family ranch thrives in arid eastern Montana by going for environmental gains

By Laura Nelson
Montana Environmental Stewardship Program

Cherry Creek Ranch Environmental Stewardship Lon ReukaufPersevering in the harsh ranching climate of eastern Montana can build character, that’s for sure, Lon Reukauf jokes. But lessons of the land often run on repeat, so a well-read history book can point to opportunities to learn, grow, conserve and preserve a sustainable future.

Fortunately, the Cherry Creek Ranch in Terry, Montana has a well-read history to help build the future. When Lon Reukauf’s grandparents homesteaded the area along Cherry Creek in 1910, there was a new pioneer home every half-mile along the dusty trail. Families were eager to try their hand at eking out a living with the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909. While 160 acres in the vast, dry land of eastern Montana could not sustain a family, this act allowed for 320 acre settlements.

Today, the Reukaufs are one of five original ranches still left on the homesteading land that once held 200 families. Lon married Vicki, his high school sweetheart, after graduating from Montana State University. They returned to Cherry Creek Ranch in 1982, faced with many of the same struggles his grandfather’s family persevered through decades before. Namely, they faced the onset of another lengthy, browbeating drought. Still, Lon and Vicki raised their two children on the ranch while tending to the land and cattle.

Cherry Creek Ranch Lon ReukaufThey added another page to the Cherry Creek Ranch history book this winter when the Montana Stockgrowers Association honored the Reukaufs with the 2016 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award. The family accepted the award at the Stockgrower’s annual convention in Billings.
“The advantage of good stewardship is, your sustainability and longevity depend fully on it,” Lon says. “You’re much more likely to weather serious disasters like drought, fire and the like if you’ve taken good care of the land.”

The overall objective of the commercial cow-calf ranch is simple, Lon says: “Take good care of the land, plants and animals while making some profit to live on, retire on and pass on to the next generation.” Achieving that goal is a touch more complicated. To do it, the Reukaufs focus on four primary areas of stewardship: build a forage reserve, build a financial reserve, build on cow reproduction and build and preserve a healthy landscape to pass along.

BUILDING A FORAGE RESERVE

“What you do during the drought, once it’s that dry, really isn’t that relevant. It’s what you do before and after that grass is dry and dormant that’s really going to matter,” Lon says. Precipitation is scarce in a good year at the Cherry Creek Ranch, and lengthy drought patterns are normal throughout thousands of years of history.

Strategic grazing allows the Reukaufs to maintain a full bank of forage reserves that will keep the family and their base cattle herd afloat in dry years. The strategy also works to continually invigorate their landscape and encourage diversity in plant growth.
“A big part of the forage reserves is about having an opportunity to pick the market you’re selling into, as opposed to being forced into selling into a market you don’t like,” Lon says.

BUILDING A FINANCIAL RESERVE

Like a forage reserve, a financial reserve is critical to the long term sustainability of the ranch. Adversity is easier to overcome if an emergency fund is built in good years.
“One of the biggest problems with the legacy of farm and ranch families is ensuring the older generation has enough savings in order to step out of the way if and when the next generation comes home, so you’re not both there starving to death,” Lon says. That focus is not only geared to ensuring the ranch can safely transition to the next generation, it’s a key component to maintaining today’s stewardship.
“I can’t think of anything that will make ranchers make worse environmental decisions than buying land at too high of prices, then trying to figure out how to make money off it,” Lon says.

BUILD IN COW REPRODUCTION

Longevity and fertility in the cowherd are the top two production goals at the Cherry Creek Ranch. On the arid eastern Montana landscape, cows must be super-efficient. They’re expected to average at least eight calves in a productive lifetime.
“Cow longevity is our number one cost, if it’s not there,” Lon says. “We want to be mindful of feedlot performance and carcass quality, too, but a super high-production cow just isn’t going to be efficient out here.”
At least 95 percent of cows should breed up and then calve in the first 30 days of the reproductive cycle, which hinges largely on an adequate plan of nutrition during breeding season, made possible by the previous year’s forage reserve and pasture movements timed for this purpose.

BUILD, PRESERVE A HEALTHY LANDSCAPE TO PASS ALONG

Cherry Creek Ranch Lon ReukaufLike his father and grandfather before him, Lon’s biggest goal is to better the landscape so it may continue to be sustainable, profitable and productive for the next generation.

“If I could say what his motto was, it would be to leave the land better than he found it. That’s what he’s worked his whole life for,” Vicki says.
That’s quantified by managing the land for increased production and increased plant and animal diversity. “The problem with that goal is, you never know how far you can go with it. So you just keep improving and keep raising the bar,” Lon says. “There’s never really an end in sight.”

ADDRESS ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES

Water quantity and natural water quality pose the largest challenges at the Cherry Creek Ranch.
“Water is so important to us. We could have cattle thirst to death in a matter of a couple days out here,” Lon says. “So we have to have a plan, and we better have a plan B.”

While the ranch has nearly 15 miles of riparian zones, these are small, ephemeral springs that do not provide reliable stock water in the 20 days of the year they run.“The rotational grazing has a lot to do with keeping the vegetation around the reservoirs from becoming nothing but dirt. By having our watershed covered with an adequate amount of litter and vegetation, it greatly decreases the amount of silt that runs into our reservoir,” Lon says.

REST ROTATIONAL GRAZING, WINTER FORAGE USE

The main management objective of the Reukauf’s six-pasture rotation is resting one pasture for 14 months and then using it exclusively the following May. The ranch utilizes winter grazing with the pastures constituting the majority of the cow’s winter diet, supplemented by high protein for part of the winter. As a result, the tree and shrub regeneration in winter pastures has been successful. In general, grazing use levels of herbaceous plants during the dormant season (October-April) can be higher than during the growing season without significantly stressing the plants. It is important to maintain ground cover to decrease the amount of soil exposed to wind and water erosion. This will also capture more snow and retain moisture.
All cattle are placed in one pasture that was rested the year before for the month of May, or used ‘light and late.’ The other five pastures get deferred until after June 1. All livestock are concentrated in a single pasture except in the fall. Four of the six pastures are deferred until late July.

The combination of these tactics allow for adequate surplus root growth, seed production and new seedling establishment. The ranch also has two, three-pasture deferred rotation systems with the goal of using one pasture only from June 15 to Sept. 1. This allows shrubs and trees to receive no hot season use two years out of three to encourage growth. The late used pasture becomes the early grazed pasture the next year.

STRATEGIC WINTER FEEDING BOOSTS DIKE IRRIGATION SYSTEM

Cherry Creek Ranch Environmental Stewardship Lon Reukauf BLMThroughout the year, mineral, salt and protein blocks are strategically placed as bait to draw cattle into areas with extra forage and away from sensitive areas. No salt or mineral is placed within one-half a mile of water during winter to allow riparian areas to regenerate, and strategic feeding areas feed into a dike system that grows a small amount of hay.

“Manure is a wonderful thing, as long as you don’t pile it up too high,” Lon says. “The two things we can’t afford to lose here are nutrients and water.” Animals are supplemented on a rotating location schedule, with the goal to maximize the use of nutrients by avoiding runoff into clean water. Meanwhile, runoff is captured in a system of dikes to grow forage. Without the diking system, the ranch would be unable to grow a hay crop. The nutritional content of the manure runoff also eliminates the need for synthetic nitrogen.

“We feed like we would spread fertilizer,” Lon says. The 300 acres of hay production on the ranch adds an estimated $50-75,000 of value to the ranch each year.

EARLY WEANING PAYS IN EFFICIENCY

Decades of market analysis and studying forage availability led Lon to weaning early and selling lighter calves to help his cows be more efficient, and also to increase his bottom line.

“When you wean that cow and calf, you can figure you’re cutting your forage consumption in half. You have a dry mama who’s not lactating and a calf who’s no longer eating. That early weaning is a fast way to decrease forage consumption per cow-calf unit,” Lon says. While it costs about $150 per head to feed the calf for an extra 100 days off the cow, it pays off in cow efficiency, near-perfect conception rates and an increased forage bank.
Selling calves at just below 500 pounds has also increased efficiency at the ranch. While they normally wean at 180 days, drought conditions may call for weaning 100-day old calves.

“For us, the cost of adding pounds after 500 is just not worth it. If you put 50 pounds on, how many more dollars per pound per head do you get? It’s not that much when you pencil the true costs in our environment,” Lon says.

TREE REGENERATION POINTS TO HEALTHY LANDSCAPE

A healthy landscape is a diverse landscape, and the Cherry Creek Ranch is home to a wide variety of grasses, shrubs and trees that offer shelter to domestic and wild animals. Years of tree planting efforts throughout the family’s history created a healthy seedbed for regeneration, and the rotational grazing system is geared toward creating a healthy environment for trees to thrive in.Cottonwoods are slowly making a comeback on the ranch, where Lon started placing a square of woven wire paneling around the seedlings to protect young growth. The BLM successfully borrowed his technique for use on other public land in the area.

“It’s not much, but if we can add even just two trees each year, and they live for 80 years – well, that’s a lot of trees,” Lon says. He protects the regrowth of new shrubs and trees by avoiding grazing on 2/3 of the pastures during their most critical growth – June 20 through August 20 – to give the green ash, buffalo berry, snowberry and other woody species a chance to establish. The change has been hugely noticeable, particular over the past 20 years.

“You can see the diversity of the age of these trees; that shows in the landscape,” Lon says. “My dad was an avid bird watcher, but we also just don’t want to live on a barren landscape.”

ONE TREE AT A TIME

Cherry Creek Ranch Reukauf FamilyThat dedication was drilled home each spring of the family’s early years, filled with “character building” memories from Vicki and the kids.“There aren’t many trees here in Eastern Montana,” Vicki says. “Every spring, Lon would order 200 trees, and the kids and I would be out in the mud, creeks and shelterbelts planting hundreds of those trees with shovels.”

The success rate is small – water is scarce, the environment is harsh – but the effort is worthwhile. Each tree that survives improves wildlife habitat and the ranch’s landscape. Year after year, the same painstaking effort goes into water development, strategic grazing and native rangeland health.“It’s all gradual – there’s no magic shazam to doing things right,” Lon says.

Rather, it’s the discovery of little successes – one new cottonwood, a shade greener stream bed, a fresh patch of native grass, a higher percentage of bred cows – that continues to drive stewardship, conservation and sustainability at the Cherry Creek Ranch.
“I didn’t return here to this place and this lifestyle for money.” Lon says. “I love the land. What’s important to me is taking care of things now so the next generation can make a stable income and enjoy a beautiful, clean, diverse place to call home.”

 To learn more about the Montana Environmental Stewardship Award program, click here. The Montana ESAP program is partially sponsored by the Montana Beef Checkoff programs.

MSU Collegiate Stockgrower Honored with Two Awards

Kamron Ratzburg, former President of the MSU Collegiate Stockgrowers, has been awarded with two prestigious awards this week. He received both the 2016 Award of Excellence for demonstrating campus leadership and his community service work, as well as the 2016 Torlief Aasheim Community Involvement Awards, the university’s top award for student service.

The “Torley” Award recognizes senior students who, in addition to excelling academically, volunteer on campus and in the community. The award was named for the late MSU alumnus Torlief “Torley” Aasheim, former director of the Montana Cooperative Extension Service and a member of the class of 1937.

The Award of Excellence honored students were nominated by faculty in their college or department. Qualified seniors must have at least a 3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, as well as demonstrated campus leadership and community service.

The award-winning students each selected a mentor who was honored with them at the event.

Kamron Ratzburg from Galata is majoring in animal science. While at MSU, Kamron has served as president of the Collegiate Stockgrowers, public relations chair for the Ag Student Council and was a member of the pre-vet club. He is also a member of Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers, Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity and Alpha Zeta, an honorary, professional society for students in agriculture and natural resources fields. His community service includes volunteering at a spay/neuter clinic, participating in Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat, supporting his fraternity’s philanthropy at the Alpha Gamma Rho Testicle Festival and helping out at the FFA State Convention. In his spare time, he works on the family ranch.

We are lucky to have such amazing young members in our Collegiate Stockgrowers. We look forward to seeing where the future leads Kamron!

MSU-Northern Collegiate Stockgrowers to Host Heroes and Horses in Havre

MSU Northern Collegiate Logo SquareThe MSU-Northern Collegiate Stockgrowers club is proud to announce they are partnering with the North Central Stockgrowers Association and North 40 Outfitters in a fundraiser for Heroes and Horses: A Program for Reforging America’s Combat Veterans, on December 9, from 4-7 p.m. at the Holiday Village Mall in Havre.

Based in Manhattan, Montana, Heroes and Horses harnesses the power of the horse/human connection to restore trust, motivation, and self-confidence. On expeditions in Montana’s high country, the Heroes and Horses program uses a positive pressure environment to re-forge the lives of America’s combat veterans. The Heroes and Horses program re-galvanizes our nation’s veterans, challenging them to rediscover who they are and what they can be moving forward. Heroes and Horses’ focus is not about what happened, but what can happen when one chooses to press on. By “challenging what challenges them,” Heroes and Horses provides veterans the chance to make peace with their past and replace devastating memories with positive ones. Donations are needed to fund a solider through a 3-phase/completion program, at no cost to the veteran.

The fundraiser will take place on Wednesday, December 9th from 4-7pm in the parking lot facing Highway 2 at the Holiday Village Mall. Rides on a horse-drawn trailer and refreshments will be provided for a small fee. All proceeds from the rides and refreshments, in addition to all in-kind donations, will go to Heroes and Horses in support of America’s combat veterans.

For more information, please contact Mary Heller at 406-265-3708 or mary.heller@msun.edu.

MSU Northern Collegiate Heroes and Horses

MSU Extension Survey on Noxious Weeds

montana state extension logoMontana State University Extension Specialists Drs. Jane Mangold and Kate Fuller are working on a survey to help gain a better understanding of how noxious weeds affect livestock producers on private rangeland in Montana. As a part of their project, they are surveying livestock operators.

Please take a few minutes to fill out their short survey, here: https://montana.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_efizQ3kCbk99map.

Any questions or comments, or requests for survey results, should be addressed to Kate Fuller at kate.fuller@montana.edu or Jane Mangold at jane.mangold@montana.edu.  Kate and Jane thank you very much for your time!

Montana State Ag College to Recognize Outstanding Alumni

Montana State Celebrate AgricultureThis weekend (November 6-7), Montana State University will Celebrate Agriculture with a number of events on campus to recognize contributions of the College of Agriculture and Montana’s largest industry. Friday’s events will include an Economics Outlook Conference with a number of great speakers. Read more about the included topics. Friday evening, our Collegiate Stockgrowers will host a reception at the Animal Bioscience Building beginning at 4 p.m.

Saturday’s events will include a Harvest Breakfast, recognizing several leaders and award recipients, followed by Bobcats Football taking on Southern Utah at 1:40 p.m.

MSGA is excited to share that our current President, Gene Curry, MSU alumni, will be recognized as the college’s honorary and outstanding alumni, along with Jerry Nielsen, MSU Professor Emeritus, during the college’s Celebrate Agriculture Harvest Breakfast event..

Nielsen taught at MSU from 1966-1999 and has a long history of supporting and advocating for soil science at MSU. He was also instrumental in the recent legislation naming the Scobey Soil Series as Montana’s official state soil and a newly remodeled campus soil lab.

Curry is an Animal and Range Sciences graduate of the college and manages a family cattle operation in Valier, Mont. Curry has a lengthy career of service in supporting Montana agriculture and MSU programs, evidenced by his contribution to myriad boards and committees.

MSGA congratulates both these gentlemen on their accomplishments in Montana’s agricultural community. We hope you’ll take the opportunity to thank them and take part in the MSU Celebrate Ag events in Bozeman this week.

Public Lands Council Welcomes New Executive Director

PLC LogoWASHINGTON (November 2, 2015) – The Public Lands Council welcomes Ethan Lane to the association in his new role as executive director. Lane is originally from Arizona and joins PLC with over 18 years’ experience in natural resource and land use issues. In his new role, he will also serve as executive director of federal lands for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Brenda Richards, PLC president and Idaho rancher, said, “We are pleased to welcome Ethan to the association. PLC is stronger than it ever has been before, and we are excited for the future of the industry. Under the Ethan’s leadership, we are confident that the organization will continue to grow, and we will continue to see wins in Washington D.C. that help public lands in the West.”

PLC is the only national organization dedicated solely to representing the ranchers who hold federal grazing permits and operate on federal lands. Public lands ranchers play an integral role in regional and national efforts to safeguard America’s open spaces, local industries, and rural heritage. Today, more than 22,000 public land ranchers maintain 250 million acres of U.S. public land.

Before coming to PLC and NCBA, Lane served as an advisor for a variety of private companies and industries operating on public lands throughout the West. He also spent ten years prior to moving to Washington D.C. helping to grow and manage a large real estate and ranch portfolio including more than 500,000 acres in Arizona alone – much of that made up of State, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Bureau of Land Management grazing permits.

“With his experience and knowledge of the issues, Ethan brings unique perspective on the challenges landowners and lessees face in operating successful businesses on public lands,” said Richards. “He has a great understanding of the complexity and multitude of issues public lands ranchers face in the West and will be able to hit the ground running.”

Lane starts with PLC and NCBA on November 2, 2015.