MSU to host Agricultural Economics Outlook Conference

montana state extension logo

BOZEMAN – Montana State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics and MSU Extension will host the 9th annual Agricultural Economics Outlook Conference on Nov. 6.

This year’s conference, “Montana Agriculture: Global Trade to Local Foods,” will run from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Procrastinator Theater in MSU’s Strand Union Building.

The conference’s keynote speaker is Colin Carter, professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California Davis and director of the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. Carter’s research is focused on international trade, futures and commodity markets, and he has published more than 130 research papers and authored more than 15 books.

“Dr. Colin Carter is one of the world’s leading experts on international agricultural trade and trade policy issues,” said Vincent Smith, professor of economics in the MSU Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics. “He works extensively with both U.S. and international government and non-governmental agencies and interest groups on trade related disputes, and his academic research has been widely recognized for its insights and importance.”

Carter will address agricultural trade and the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP), a proposed regional free trade agreement currently being negotiated among the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. TPP is a trade policy of President Obama meant to expand American goods and services exports to new markets while setting high standards of global trade, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The TPP has important implications for Montana’s agricultural exports, according to Smith.

The conference, which is part of MSU’s Celebrate Agriculture weekend, is also designed to provide Montana agricultural, business leaders, agricultural bankers, producers and others in agriculture with quality, unbiased information about issues facing Montana agriculture.

“The outlook conference is an outstanding example of MSU’s commitment to the land-grant mission of bringing high-quality, relevant research findings to the citizens of Montana,” said Jeff Bader, director of MSU Extension. “The event brings important insights about the current standing and future of agriculture from a research perspective, which is always appreciated by our stakeholders.”

During the morning session of the conference, MSU agricultural economics professors will share their expertise on aspects of Montana’s agricultural industry. Speakers include Kate Fuller, who will discuss the status of Montana agriculture; Joe Janzen, who will discuss marketing Montana pulse crops; and Eric Belasco, who will discuss cattle market fundamentals and prices. Registration is $25 for the morning session and lunch. Those who register by Wednesday, Oct. 28, will receive a free parking pass. To register, please visit

Following lunch at 1:45 p.m., two in-depth breakout sessions will be offered. The first session will focus on innovations in price risk management from MSU economics professors Gary Brester, Janzen, Joe Atwood and Belasco. The second session will focus on producer and consumer relationships in local food markets and will feature Dawn Thilmany McFadden, professor of agribusiness at Colorado State University, and MSU Agricultural Economics Professor George Haynes. Several local food businesses will also share their perspective with attendees. Registration is not required for the breakout sessions.

For a full schedule of events and speakers at the conference, please visit

A full schedule of events for the Celebrate Agriculture weekend event is available at:

MidYear Meeting 2015

Stockgrowers Meet in Bozeman for MidYear

The 2015 Montana Stockgrowers Association’s (MSGA) Mid-Year Meeting, held in Bozeman on June 4-6, drew over 150 ranchers and members of the cattle industry from across the state for policy meetings, a leadership-training workshop, the annual Ranch Tour and a concert with Ringling 5. Special guests in attendance included Dr. Gary Brester and Senator Steve Daines.

“Stockgrowers is very thankful to the Bozeman community and Montana State University for welcoming our MidYear event into town,” said MSGA President, Gene Curry from Valier. “Our ranchers enjoyed the opportunity to visit and learn more about the economy and businesses in the Gallatin Valley during this year’s meetings and tour.”

IMG_1668 Ranchers in attendance kicked off the event by taking part in a workshop with leadership coach, Sarah Bohnenkamp. Ranchers of all ages participated in the engaging workshop, learning how to develop individual strengths to be better leaders on family operations and in ranching communities across the state.

A Welcome Reception was held on Thursday evening to benefit the Stockgrowers’ Research and Education Endowment Foundation. The reception included a live auction and recognition of Foundation programs, including scholarship recipients, Young Cattlemen’s Conference Attendees, Environmental Stewardship Award Program honorees and introduction of the Foundation’s new specialty license plates.

Senator Steve Daines joined ranchers in discussions during interim-policy meetings on Friday morning. Daines expressed support for the state’s ranchers and provided an update on important legislation debated this year on Capitol Hill. Contentious topics of discussion included passage of the Trade Promotion Authority, limiting of EPA’s proposed Waters of the U.S. rule and keeping sage grouse off the Endangered Species list.

Other topics discussed during interim-policy meetings included repeal of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling, proposed EIS for bison management in the Greater Yellowstone Area, changes in the Department of Livestock and the state’s Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory along with updates on programs from MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Opening General Session featured MSU agriculture economics professor, Dr. Gary Brester with insight on current cattle market trends. Brester was optimistic on the cattle market outlook, confident that high quality will continue to support strong international demand for U.S. cattle genetics and beef.

IMG_1647MidYear attendees had the opportunity to learn about businesses and the rural economy of the Gallatin Valley during the annual Ranch Tour and Dinner. Tour stops included Simms Fishing Products at Four Corners where ranchers learned about the company’s international business in fishing gear and clothing products. The tour then visited Copper Spring Ranch to learn more about the performance quarter horse operation and the ranch’s investments in holding benefit events to help those in the ranching communities across the state.

Ranchers wrapped up the event with a dinner at Broken Hart Ranch near Gallatin Gateway and live entertainment by Ringling 5.

Plans are in the works for Stockgrowers’ Annual Convention and Trade Show, taking place December 3-5 at the MetraPark in Billings. To learn more about Montana Stockgrowers membership, programs and events, visit or contact the MSGA office at (406) 442-3420.

For more photos from the event, visit our Facebook page.

Kicking off 2015 MidYear Meeting in Bozeman

If you're on the MSU campus, keep an eye out for our Massey Ferguson tractor to designate our reserved parking lot this week! Also, don't forget to purchase your raffle tickets for the chance to win an 8-month/200-hour lease for this tractor!

Montana Stockgrowers is certainly excited to kick off our 2015 MidYear Meeting in Bozeman today! Preparations are going well and the staff at the MSU Department of Animal & Range Sciences are more than gracious hosts, allowing the use of their Animal Bioscience Building for the majority of our meetings this year.

Our schedule for the next two days includes a number of meetings, guest speakers and great topics for the Montana ranching community. We’re excited to host Sarah Bohnenkamp, leadership coach and active member of the ranching community, for a leadership workshop in today’s Cattlemen’s College. Friday morning’s Policy Committee meetings will include a variety of topics to discuss policy subjects impacting Montana’s ranchers and landowners. Opening General Session will answer a question all ranchers have – How long will these record cattle prices last? Dr. Gary Brester will take a look at historic spikes in market prices and share what we might learn and apply to today’s cattle markets.

If you’re on the MSU campus, keep an eye out for our Massey Ferguson tractor to designate our reserved parking lot this week! Also, don’t forget to purchase your raffle tickets for the chance to win an 8-month/200-hour lease for this tractor!

Be sure to follow along with our events on social media through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We’ll be using the hashtag #MSGA15 and encourage everyone in attendance to share the experience through online posts!

A big Thank You to all of our sponsors for this year’s meeting and to all of those in attendance this week!

MidYear Includes Reception Benefiting MSGA Foundation

REEF Reception MissionThe week of our MidYear meeting is here and Stockgrowers is excited to see everyone in Bozeman beginning Thursday afternoon, June 4! Following our Cattlemen’s College with guest speaker and leadership coach, Sarah Bohnenkamp, everyone is invited to attend the Welcome Reception at the Best Western GranTree Inn starting at 7:00 p.m.

Proceeds from the Welcome Reception will benefit our Research & Education Endowment Foundation (REEF), a 501(c)3 which supports MSGA youth, education and leadership programs. The reception will feature appetizers, fun, networking and live music from Crazy Mountain Express. This is sure to be a great time to join everyone in celebrating the MidYear meeting.

REEF will recognize recipients of numerous programs the Foundation supports, including the Educational Heritage Scholarships, the Environmental Stewardship Award Program, Montana’s delegates to the Young Cattlemen’s Conference, the MSU Nancy Cameron Chair in Animal and Range Sciences and the Montana Stockgrowers Fellowship Fund.

During this week’s Welcome Reception, a live auction will be held with a variety of items to support REEF programs. Auction items will include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Bobcat football package with 2 tickets to a MSU Bobcat football game with MSU shot glass, Camelbak water jug and cap
  • Two Bobcat/Grizzly football packages. Each package includes two tickets to the Bobcat/Griz game in Bozeman and $100 gift certificate for dinner at Ferraro’s Fine Italian Restaurant.
  • A package for the NFR: includes a condo on the Las Vegas Strip with one bedroom and living room with fold-out couch for Monday December 7, 2015 through Saturday, December 12 2015. Rodeo tickets for two people for two nights.
  • A rope mirror with the MSGA steer head and REEF’s license plate wording Heritage-Integrity-Tradition etched on it.
  • Two Adirondack chairs
  • David Graham print of the painting commissioned for the MSGA convention in Miles City
  • An assortment of prints
  • A case of wine from Yellowstone Cellars & Winery

Tickets for the Welcome Reception can be purchased today for $35 at After June 1, tickets can be purchased on-site for $40.

A special thanks to Lazy SR Ranch of Wilsall for supply beef for the event and to the Welcome Reception sponsor, Loomix/ADM Alliance Nutrition.

MidYear Meeting 2015

Stockgrowers MidYear to Feature Short and Long Term Cattle Price Outlook

What will the markets do next? Aside from keeping an eye on the weather forecast, this seems to be the frequent question among ranchers in today’s cattle business. With recent record-high calf prices, we’re not always sure what to expect next, only guessing whether the markets will fall or continue climbing.

At Stockgrowers 2015 MidYear meeting, attendees will be provided with some insight and historical context to today’s cattle market prices and what can be expected in the months ahead. Dr. Gary Brester, Professor in the Department of Ag Economics at Montana State University, will highlight the Opening General Session on Friday, June 5.

Gary Brester, ag econ MSU photo by Kelly Gorham“Current record-high calf prices have occurred (in inflation-adjusted terms) three times since 1920 — in 1951, 1973, and 1979,” says Brester. “In each case, price spikes were caused by a combination of low cattle numbers and unusual market situations. Each of these record-high price events was short-lived — less than two years.”

In general, prices declined after each of these price spikes after outside economic conditions corrected themselves in response to world events. During these previous periods of high prices, cattle inventories increased for a short time.

Will history repeat itself after 2014’s record-setting cattle prices? Will these high returns to ranchers continue in response to lower world cattle inventories and continued strong beef demand?

Find out more by attending Montana Stockgrowers’ MidYear meeting and hearing from Dr. Brester at the Opening General Session. Event tickets are available online for a 20% discount if registration is completed prior to June 1.

The 2015 MSGA MidYear Meeting takes place on the campus of Montana State University in Bozeman, June 4-6. For more information, contact the MSGA office at (406) 442-3420 or visit our event page.

Legislative Review, Agriculture Research Funding, CSKT Water Compact | Podcast

PodcastOn this week’s Stockgrowers Podcast, Ryan Goodman and Jay Bodner begin reviewing the 64th Montana Legislative Session, which adjourned on Tuesday, April 28. This week Ryan and Jay discuss major funding for agriculture research in the state (HB 403 with $2.4 million for infrastructure; $15 million from budgets go to research initiatives) and we give an outlook for the CSKT Water Compact as it heads to Congress.

Also, we provide a look at this year’s MidYear Meeting, which takes place in Bozeman, June 4-6. Find MidYear information and registration on our events page.

MidYear Meeting 2015

Montana Stockgrowers to Host 2015 MidYear Meeting in Bozeman

Mark your calendars to celebrate 131 years for Montana Stockgrowers Association at the organization’s MidYear Meeting, June 4-6 in Bozeman. This year’s MidYear event will be highlighted by Cattlemen’s College workshops, a tour of area businesses and live music with Ringling 5 and Crazy Mountain Express!

Mid-Year is one of two major meetings MSGA holds annually where members will gather to discuss the issues facing Montana ranching families and set interim policy to guide the association through the rest of the year. Policy Committee meetings this year will be hosted on the campus of Montana State University.

Events will kick off Thursday afternoon with Cattlemen’s College workshops presented by leadership coach, Sarah Bohenkamp. Ranchers will have the opportunity to learn more about growth in leadership, improving time management and developing skills to build strong relationships that are critical to being successful in the ranching business.

Friday’s Opening General Session will feature MSU Ag Economics Professor, Dr. Gary Brester, who will provide insight for current record cattle prices and provide context from historical market trends. Association policy meetings will take place on Friday with discussion on topics affecting Montana ranchers today. A review of the 2015 Montana Legislative Session activity affecting the ranching community will also take place during the meeting.

Ranchers will gather on Friday night for a steak dinner, fun and live music from Ringling 5. Area business leaders and the community are invited to a special fundraiser event on Thursday night for MSGA’s Research & Education Endowment Foundation, held at the Best Western GranTree Inn, with entertainment by Crazy Mountain Express.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Best Western GranTree Inn and Holiday Inn. Rooms at discounted rates must be reserved by May 5. For more information about MSGA’s 2015 Mid-Year Meeting, contact MSGA’s office at (406) 442-3420 or join the Facebook event. Registrations are available online for a 20% discount if made prior to June 1. Visit our event page for more details.

Elk-Brucellosis Discussion in Bozeman January 17

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks logoMontana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will host a half-day discussion on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman, Saturday, Jan. 17, on topics related to the transmission of brucellosis from elk to cattle in southwestern Montana.

FWP has assembled a diverse group of experts to discuss brucellosis in elk, disease genetics, and livestock investigation techniques and processes. A panel discussion among presenters will be facilitated by Dr. Mike Mitchell, leader of the University of Montana’s Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit.

“FWP has heard from some constituents about providing more information on the science that identifies elk as one possible source of brucellosis infection in cattle in parts of southwestern Montana,” said Jeff Hagener, director of FWP in Helena. “In response, we’ve assembled this presentation to illustrate that science.”

The session is designed to describe, inform and discuss data addressing the potential for some elk in southwestern Montana to infect livestock with brucellosis, a disease that can cause some pregnant bison, elk and domestic cattle to abort their first calf.

The talks are open to the public and are set for 8:30 a.m.—Noon on Jan. 17 at 101 Gaines Hall on the MSU campus. For a full agenda visit FWP online at; click “Fish & Wildlife”, then click “Elk“.