MSGA News

<script>
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[‘GoogleAnalyticsObject’]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
})(window,document,’script’,’https://www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js’,’ga’);

ga(‘create’, ‘UA-57230314-1’, ‘auto’);
ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);

</script>

USDA Issues Farm Safety Net and Conservation Payments

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to invest in rural America with more than $4.8 billion in payments being made, starting this month, to agricultural producers through the Farm Service Agency’s Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Conservation Reserve (CRP) programs. Approximately $3 billion in payments will be made under the ARC and PLC programs for the 2017 crop year, and approximately $1.8 billion in annual rental payments under CRP for 2018. “Despite a temporary lapse of Farm Bill authorities, farmers and ranchers can rest assured that USDA continues to work within the letter of the law to deliver much-needed farm safety net, conservation, disaster recovery, and trade assistance program payments,” said Perdue. The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and make up a portion of the agricultural safety net to producers when they experience a substantial drop

Read More

2018 Montana CattleWomen Scholarship Recipient Announced

by Nancy Heriem MCW Scholarship Committee Chair The 2018 Montana CattleWomen's Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Kyler Maharg of Helena, Montana.  Kyler is pursuing a Bachelor of Science at the Montana State University (MSU) College of Agriculture in Animal Science.  He has completed his first year at MSU in this program with a 4.0 grade point average.  Kyler is a former high school graduate from Helena High and grew up on his multi-generation family ranch near Helena, Montana. Kyler was one of seven highly qualified applicants for the MCA scholarship. In Kyler's own words, he believes "one of the biggest issues that affects the agricultural industry today is lack of education.  Many people don't know where their food comes from."  He further stated that "every student in the 3rd or 4th grade sho

Read More

Livestock Groups Petition Department of Transportation for Hours of Service Flexibility

Today organizations representing livestock, bee, and fish haulers across the country submitted a petition to the Department of Transportation (DOT) requesting additional flexibility on Hours of Service (HOS) requirements. The petition asks for a five-year exemption from certain HOS requirements for livestock haulers and encourages DOT to work with the livestock industry to implement additional fatigue-management practices. Current rules limit drive time to 11 hours and limit on-duty hours to 14. Instead, the organizations request that livestock haulers be granted approval to drive up to 15 hours with a 16-hour on-duty period, following a 10-hour consecutive rest period. Any livestock hauler wishing to operate under the extended drive time would be required to complete pre-trip planning and increased fatigue-management training. “We are concerned

Read More
mdol-rule-change

The Montana Department of Livestock has adopted changes to rules affecting vaccination requirements

The newly adopted brucellosis vaccination rule (ARM 32.3.433) mandates that eligible animals in 10 Montana counties must be vaccinated against brucellosis. The change requires that all sexually intact female cattle and domestic bison 12 months of age or older in Beaverhead, Big Horn, Broadwater, Carbon, Gallatin, Jefferson, Madison, Park, Stillwater, and Sweet Grass Counties must be brucellosis vaccinates. Prior to this rulemaking, only cattle and domestic bison in Gallatin, Madison, Park, and Beaverhead Counties were required to be vaccinated.  This rule includes cattle that enter any of these counties for seasonal grazing. Beyond the addition of new counties, the rule also moves away from December 1st as the cutoff date for completion of vaccination and no longer specifies that animals be calf-hood vaccinates. This gives producers more options for the management of replacement heife

Read More

NCBA Calls for Flexibility on Hours of Service Rules

At a public listening session hosted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today called for additional flexibility on Hours of Service rules for livestock haulers. NCBA President Kevin Kester and Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera delivered the group’s message at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s headquarters in Washington. The comments emphasized the need for a regulatory framework that encourages drivers to rest when they are tired. Under the status quo, drivers are incentivized to “push through” fatigue due to overly-restrictive Hours of Service rules. “The current Hours of Service framework is incompatible with the realities of livestock hauling,” said Kester. “Drivers of our livestock need to be alert and safe, while also cognizant of the welfare of the animals they are hauling. We want them to rest as needed, instead of racing against the clock.” Current rules require a live

Read More

Secretary Perdue Announces Vicki Christiansen as New Forest Service Chief

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that Vicki Christiansen will serve as the 19th Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service. Christiansen has been serving as Interim Chief since March of this year. Following the announcement, Secretary Perdue issued the following statement: “As a former wildland firefighter and fire manager, Chief Christiansen knows what’s needed to restore our forests and put them back to work for the taxpayers. With seven years at the Forest Service and 30 years with the states of Arizona and Washington, Vicki’s professional experience makes me confident that she will thrive in this role and hit the ground running.” Tomorrow, Secretary Perdue will swear-in Christiansen as Chief in the Sidney Yates Building in Washington, D.C. Vicki Christiansen Background: Vicki Christiansen has been serving as the interim Chief at the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service in Washington, DC.

Read More

Montana NRCS Announces Conservation Initiatives for 2019

NRCS is offering additional funding through EQIP to target specific resource concerns in Montana in 2019: on-farm energy, honey bee pollinators, high tunnel systems, Sage Grouse Initiative invasive conifer removal and cropland seeding, Capital 360 Forestry Project, and the National Water Quality Initiative. While NRCS accepts EQIP applications on a continuous basis, NRCS has set a deadline of Oct. 19, 2018, to apply for 2019 initiatives funding. Below is an overview of each initiative: National On-Farm Energy Initiative:  This initiative has two components. In the first component, agricultural producers work with an NRCS-approved Technical Service Provider to develop Agricultural Energy Management Plans or farm energy audits that assess energy consumption on an operation. In the second component, NRCS may also provide assistance to implement various recommended measures identified in the energy audit through the use of conservation practice standards offered through this initiati

Read More
mdol-rule-change

Rangeland drought resilience study

by Megan Van Emon, MSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist Although the majority of the state has had ample rain this year, it’s good to be prepared when a drought does occur.  Drought preparedness is especially crucial when multi-year droughts occur.  I am currently working with several scientists on a drought resilience study: Identifying mechanisms of rangeland drought resilience: management strategies for sustainable ecosystem health. Key Personnel Sally Koerner, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina – Greensboro Lauren Porensky, Ecologist, USDA-ARS Rangeland Resources & Systems Research, Fort Collins, CO Kevin Wilcox, Ecologist, USDA-ARS Rangeland Resources & Systems Research, Fort Collins, CO Kim La Pierre, Senior Scientist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Kurt Reinhart, Ecologist, USDA-ARS Range, and Livestock Research, Miles City, MT Megan V

Read More

USDA Launches Interactive Data Tool to Help Rural Communities Address the Opioid Crisis

New Community Assessment Tool Empowers Rural Leaders to Make Data-Driven Decisions to Build Resilient Communities Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched an interactive data tool to help community leaders build grassroots strategies to address the opioid epidemic. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural America in addressing this monumental challenge,” Hazlett said. “Local leaders in small towns across our country need access to user-friendly and relevant data to help them build grassroots solutions for prevention, treatment and recovery.” The opioid misuse Community Assessment Tool enables users to overlay substance misuse data against socioeconomic, census and other pu

Read More

Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame announces 2018 inductions

Today the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF & WHC) announced the eleventh class of inductions into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. The inductees were chosen from a field of candidates nominated by the general public. Inductees are honored for their notable contributions to the history and culture of Montana. “Our volunteer trustees around Montana vote on nominations that come from the district in which they reside,” said Bill Galt, MCHF & WHC President. “This process gives the local communities a strong voice in who will represent them in the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame exists to honor those who have made an impact in their part of the state and represent Montana’s authentic heritage for future generations.” The MCHF & WHC board of directors has designated 12 trustee districts across the state from which up to 20 trustees may be appointed. Nomination criteria established by the board for the Class of 2018 inductions all

Read More

NRCS Sets Program Funding Application Cutoff for October 19

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has set a Oct. 19, 2018, application cutoff for agricultural operators to be considered for 2019 conservation program funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. NRCS provides funding and technical assistance to help farmers and ranchers implement conservation practices that provide environmental benefits to help sustain agricultural operations. Conservation program participation is voluntary and helps private landowners and operators defray the costs of installing conservation practices. NRCS accepts conservation program applications year-round; however, applications for 2019 funding consideration must be submitted by Oct. 19, 2018. Applications made after the Oct. 19 cutoff will be considered in the next funding cycle. Additional information is available on the Montana NRCS website at www.mt.nr

Read More

USDA Details Trade Damage Estimate Calculations

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue last week released a detailed accounting of how the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calculated estimated damage from trade disruptions.  USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist developed an estimate of gross trade damages for commodities with assessed retaliatory tariffs by Canada, China, the European Union, Mexico, and Turkey to set commodity payment rates and purchase levels in the trade mitigation package announced by USDA on September 4, 2018.  USDA employed the same approach often used in adjudicating World Trade Organization trade dispute cases. “We have pledged to be transparent about this process and how our economists arrived at the numbers they did,” Perdue said.  “Our farmers and ranchers work hard to feed the United States and the world, and they need to know that USDA was thorough, methodical, and as accurate as possible in mak

Read More

Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Dates Announced

The Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Dates have been announced. The very first seminar of The Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Series is next week, Wednesday, September 19th.  Vince Smith will give two seminars, a research/technical seminar at Noon in ABB 134 and a Community Talk at 6:00 pm in ABB 134. There will be a reception starting at 5:30 pm in the Atrium before the Community Talk, everyone is invited.  Please share with anyone you think might like to attend. If you have any questions please contact Carl Yeoman (carl.yeoman@montana.edu) or Lance McNew (lance.mcnew@montana.edu). Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Series – Fall Semester

Read More

Judge extends order blocking grizzly hunt

By Rob Chaney for the Missoulian A federal judge has blocked the start of grizzly bear hunting seasons for another two weeks while he finishes a ruling on the legality of ending Endangered Species Act protection for bears around Yellowstone National Park. “There remain serious questions regarding whether FWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) complied with the Administrative Procedure Act and the Endangered Species Act in delisting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear population,” U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen wrote on Thursday. “If the court does not extend the temporary restraining order, as many as 23 bears may be killed in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Their death would cause irreparable injury to the plaintiffs.”

Read More

MSGA issues support for Secretary Zinke’s “Sue and Settle” Order

Today the Montana Stockgrowers Association issued support of the Department of Interior’s September 7, Secretarial Order 3368, regarding “sue and settle”. “Ranchers in Montana are often subjected to unnecessary and relentless litigation brought by extreme environmental groups,” said Bryan Mussard, President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “These actions waste taxpayer dollars; funds that should be utilized for wildfire prevention and improving the management of public lands are instead diverted to forced settlements. Under Secretary Zinke's leadership, we have seen action to engage the BLM to manage the public land according to its original purpose and not be stifled by the fear of litigation.”

Read More

USDA to Implement Regulatory Reforms to Increase Access to Capital in Rural Areas

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is hosting listening sessions to solicit feedback on a plan to increase access to capital in rural areas by streamlining regulations for four Rural Development loan guarantee programs. “At USDA, we know that for many rural communities the regulations that govern our programs can be outdated and difficult to navigate,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to simplifying our regulations and streamlining our program resources so we can be a better partner to rural leaders in building prosperity.” The changes will simplify the application process for four Rural Development loan guarantee programs that provide funding to start, improve and expand businesses and build critical infrastructure. The

Read More

USDA Launches Trade Mitigation Programs

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue yesterday launched the trade mitigation package aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations.  Producers of certain commodities can now sign up for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), while USDA will also begin to purchase identified commodities under a food purchase and distribution program.  Additionally, USDA has begun accepting proposals for the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), which will help American farmers find and access new markets for their products.  In total, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with World Trade Organization obligations. Perdue announced in July that USDA would act to aid farmers in respons

Read More

2018 Women Stepping Forward for Agriculture Conference

Pack your blue jeans and head for Billings to attend the Women Stepping Forward for Agriculture (WSFA) Conference! This year’s conference will be held October 2-4 at the DoubleTree Hotel. The annual conference began in 2001 and has evolved each year since, and is now planned by a committee of agriculture-minded ladies from across the state. Their mission is to empower women involved in all sectors of agriculture through education, collaboration and networking, to ensure the success of farms and ranches across the region. This year’s agenda promises to give attendees a blend of education, entertainment and inspiration. Topics covered this year range from the Farm Bill and financial strategies to overcoming the opioid epidemic and alternative forages. Attendees can interact with presenters during the popular Women in Business panel, and new this year, the Generational Differences panel with a range of Montana agriculture couples sharing their success and failures as they forge thei

Read More

Watson to Lead Natural Resources Conservation Service in Montana

Tom Watson recently assumed the position of state conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Montana.  In that job, Watson will be responsible for NRCS operations within the state, including the administration of conservation technical assistance to private landowners, conservation financial assistance programs, conservation easement programs, the Natural Resources Inventory, water supply forecasting, soil survey mapping, and the Plant Materials Center in Bridger. Most recently, Watson has worked as an assistant state conservationist in Oregon, supervising the administrative and operational functions for the state.  His NRCS career began at a local field office in Wyoming after graduating from the

Read More

USDA Announces Details of Assistance for Farmers Impacted by Trade Retaliation

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced details of actions the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations. President Donald J. Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets, in the long run, to help American farmers compete globally. As announced last month, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with our World Trade Organization obligations. “Early on, the President instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to make sure our farmers did not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs. After careful analysis by our team at USDA, we have formulated our strategy to mitigate the trade damages sustai

Read More
mdol-rule-change

USDA Forest Service Announces New Strategy for Improving Forest Conditions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) announced today a new strategy for managing catastrophic wildfires and the impacts of invasive species, drought, and insect and disease epidemics. Specifically, a new report titled Toward Shared Stewardship across Landscapes: An Outcome-based investment Strategy (PDF, 3.7 MB) outlines the USFS’s plans to work more closely with states to identify landscape-scale priorities for targeted treatments in areas with the highest payoffs. “On my trip to California this week, I saw the devastation that these unprecedented wildfires are having on our neighbors, friends and families,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We commit to work more closely with the states to reduce the frequency and severity of wildfires. W

Read More

USDA Adds New Tools, Resources to Farmers.gov to Aid Producers

Agricultural producers have new resources available to them to prepare for and recover from the impacts of natural disasters on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new website, farmers.gov. The site has updated tools and information to help agricultural producers identify the right programs and make decisions for their operations. “Agriculture is a risky business,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “At USDA, we’re here to help you prepare, recover, and build long-term resilience to natural disasters. Whether you want to visit your local USDA service center or visit our new farmers.gov, we want to help you get the help you need.” New additions to the site – being built for farmers, by farmers – include a

Read More

Montana Range Tour to highlight recovery from flood and fire, energy development on rangeland

The 2018 Montana Range Tour will feature a great lineup of ranches and farms showcasing conservation projects and creative solutions to common ranching issues; there will also be talks on topics such as grassland songbirds, oil development on grazing lands, and the recovery process following floods and wildfire. Also featured on the tour is a lunch stop to learn about Dry Prairie Rural Water, which is vital to life on the range in Eastern Montana. This year’s tour will take participants around the Sidney and Culbertson areas on Sept. 5-6, 2018. A banquet with keynote speaker Steve Kenyon will take place on the evening of Sept. 5 at the Sidney Event Center in Sidney, Mont. This year’s tour is sponsored by the Richland and Roosevelt Conservation Districts and the Montana Rangeland Resources Committee. For more details, including a full two-day agenda and registration details, visit http:/

Read More

National Cattlemen’s Foundation Accepting Applications for W.D. Farr Scholarships

The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is now accepting applications for the W.D. Farr Scholarships for the 2018-19 school year. Two annual $15,000 grants will be awarded to outstanding graduate students who demonstrate superior achievement in academics and leadership and are committed to beef industry advancement. The awards will allow the students to further their study in fields that benefit the industry. The scholarship was established by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation to honor the successful career of the late W.D. Farr. Farr, a third-generation Coloradan, pioneer rancher, statesman and banker was known for his extraordinary vision. His dedication to improving agriculture, livestock and water development has resulted in significant changes in farming methods that have influenced the practices of ranchers and farmers throughout the nation. To apply for the scholarship, graduate students planning to pursue a career in the beef industry should submit a cover letter, curriculu

Read More

USDA Partners to Improve Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure in 23 States including Montana

New Partnerships Support More Prosperous Futures for More than 73,000 People Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett visited the state today to announce that USDA is investing more than $124 million (PDF, 155.4 KB) to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure in 23 states. Five projects in Louisiana are receiving funding. “Modern, reliable water infrastructure provides a foundation for economic growth and prosperity,” Hazlett said. “USDA’s partnerships with rural communities underscore Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s commitment to ensuring that rural places have the infrastructure needed to thrive.” USDA is providing the funding through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water,

Read More

MDA to Hold Waste Pesticide Disposal Events in September

Annual events have collected over 586,860 lbs. of waste pesticides Helena, Mont. - The Montana Department of Agriculture’s annual Pesticide Disposal Events will be held in several locations across Montana during September. The collection events will be held September 18 in Havre; September 19 in Great Falls; September 20 in Bozeman; and September 21 in Columbus.  The annual events have collected more than 586,860 pounds of waste pesticides since it began in 1994. The program was designed to help individuals dispose of any pesticides that are unusable as originally intended and cannot be used for any other purpose.  This allows participants to dispose of waste pesticides in an environmentally responsible way and helps protect Montana’s ecosystems and groundwater, as well as families, pets, livestock and drinking water. The department asks that participants pre-register by September 10, 2018, before the collection events, so products can be managed safe

Read More

Tester Sponsors Bill to Protect Montana Livestock Sellers

Bipartisan SALE Act will Provide Extra Support for Ranchers at the Auction Yard   (Big Sandy, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is working with his colleagues across the aisle to protect Montana ranchers when they go to auction their livestock. When heading to the auction yard, livestock sellers are dealt the short straw because if a dealer defaults on their payment to a seller, it is the bank who collects the collateral and the seller is left with nothing. That’s why Tester is sponsoring the Securing All Livestock Equitably (SALE) Act to ensure Montana ranchers aren’t left empty-handed if their buyers fail to make a timely payment. “Montana’s ranchers deserve better,” Tester said. “They shouldn’t be risking their livelihood every time they head to the auction block.  It's important that both parties put politics aside and work together to fix this broken system to give sellers security when they go to sell their liv

Read More

First Confirmed Equine Case of West Nile Virus in Montana for 2018

Helena, Mont. – The Montana Department of Livestock has received the first reported cases of equine West Nile Virus in Montana for 2018 in Musselshell and Lake Counties. This follows the detection of the virus in mosquito surveillance pools from Cascade, Hill, and Lewis and Clark Counties. Montana typically sees cases of West Nile Virus through late summer and into fall. West Nile Virus affects humans, equines, and birds. It is spread through the bites of infected mosquitos; horses cannot transmit the virus directly to people. Detections of the disease in horses and mosquitos in Montana serve as an important reminder for people to take steps to prevent West Nile Virus infection. “There is no direct treatment for the virus in horses, but vaccination is highly effective in preventing disease. Horses that are vaccinated rarely die or are euthanized because of the disease,” said

Read More

Montana CattleWomen host Ranch Run

CattleWomen host run to highlight the importance of agriculture and land stewardship Join the Montana CattleWomen for their 4thannual ranch run on Saturday, August 25thin Lennep, Montana. Registration begins at 8 am and the race starts at 9 am.  This scenic  25-mile run is designed to showcase the importance of agriculture and land stewardship to the running community.  The course can be run solo or with a team of 2-5 members.  Parts of the course are challenging so have your teammates read through and choose appropriate leg assignments.  For a team of five, the cost is $35 per person or $50 to run solo. Runners will receive a t-shirt and enjoy a delicious meal, featuring beef, served the Montana CattleWomen at the end of the race. Visit www.themontanaranchrun.com to register. The course extends through three-multi generation ranches, as well as US National Forest, and runs deep into the hear

Read More

Montana Ranch Honored for Outstanding Environmental Stewardship

The Hahn Ranch, in Townsend, Mont., has been selected as one of six regional honorees of the Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). The award, announced during the 2018 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting Aug. 1, 2018, recognizes the operation’s outstanding stewardship and conservation efforts. This year’s regional winners will compete for the national award, which will be announced during the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans, La., in February 2019. Established in 1991 by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to recognize outstanding land stewards in the cattle industry, ESAP is generously sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, McDonald’s, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. “Cattlemen and women everywhere understand that the land, air and water resources in their care are the cornerstone of their success and they are only steward

Read More

USDA Encourages Rural Communities, Water Districts to Apply for Loans to Improve, Rebuild Infrastructure; $4 Billion Available

Department’s Latest Investments to Benefit 165,000 People in Rural Communities in 24 States WASHINGTON, July 30, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced a historic commitment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to upgrade and rebuild rural water infrastructure. “USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures,” Hazlett said. “All people – regardless of their zip code – need modern, reliable infrastructure to thrive, and we have found that when we address this need, many other challenges in rural places become much more manageable.” Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. They can visit the interactive

Read More

USDA Assists Farmers Impacted by Unjustified Retaliation

(Washington, D.C., July 24, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take several actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets, in the long run, to help American farmers compete globally.  Specifically, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods. These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets. “This is a short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire U.S. economy,” Secretary Perdue said.  “The President pro

Public Input Sought on ESA Reform

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries Seek Public Input on Proposed Reforms to Improve & Modernize Implementation of the Endangered Species Act July 19, 2018 Contact(s): U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Gavin_Shire@fws.gov, 703-358-2649 NOAA Fisheries: Katherine.Brogan@noaa.gov, 301-427-8030 Continuing efforts to improve how the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is implemented, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries today proposed revisions to certain regulations to ensure clarity and consistency. The changes incorporate public input, best science and best practices to improve reliability, regulatory efficiency and environmental stewardship.

Read More

Nearly $2 Billion Now Available for Eligible Producers Affected by 2017 Hurricanes and Wildfires

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2018 – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that agricultural producers affected by hurricanes and wildfires in 2017 now may apply for assistance to help recover and rebuild their farming operations. Sign up begins July 16, 2018, and continues through November 16, 2018. “Hurricanes and wildfires caused billions of dollars in losses to America’s farmers last year. Our objective is to get relief funds into the hands of eligible producers as quickly as possible,” said Secretary Perdue. “We are making immediate, initial payments of up to 50 percent of the calculated assistance so producers can pay their bills.” Additional payments will be issued, if funds remain available, later in the year. The program, known as the 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP) was authorized by Congress earlier this year by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. Eligible crops, trees, bushes, or vines, located in a county declared in a Presidential

Read More

The Montana Pesticide Waste Disposal Program and 2018 Sites

from Cecil Tharp, MSU Pesticide Education Specialist Pesticide applicators should be aware of the Montana Pesticide Waste Disposal Program and 2018 sites. Delaying removal of unused pesticide products often leads to corroded containers that pose unnecessary risks towards the environmental and human health. By following a few simple steps applicators can ensure that unused pesticides are discarded and disposed of legally and safely. Disposing of Pesticide Waste Applicators should use the Montana pesticide waste disposal program if they have unknown pesticide products (due to worn product label), unregistered pest

Read More

“Taking the gamble out of grazing,” theme of upcoming national conference

Interested in learning more about proper grazing lands management and stewardship sustainability? Then ride to Reno, Nev. this December to hear first-hand from cowboy and industry experts how to take the gamble out of grazing at the 7thNational Conference on Grazing Lands, Dec. 2-5, 2018, being held at the Peppermill Resort Spa & Casino. “We look to have another outstanding conference in Nevada this year,” said Chad Ellis, chair of the National Grazing Lands Coalition (NatGLC). “This is a must-attend conference for anyone striving to manage their grazing lands in an environmentally sustainable, economic manner. From the conference information provided by renowned grazing managers, to the numerous opportunities to network and exchange ideas, there is something for every attendee.” Fred Provenza and Jim Gerrish are just two of the renowned speakers on tap to share decades of experience. Provenza, professor emeritus

Read More

Witnesses Explain Multiple Benefits of Public Lands Grazing at Congressional Hearing

WASHINGTON (July 12, 2018) A lieutenant governor, a scientist, and an agricultural industry leader made the case for eliminating regulatory burdens and legal loopholes impacting livestock grazing on federal land during a House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing held today. Idaho Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, University of Montana Professor Dr. Dave Naugle, and Arizona Farm Bureau President Stefanie Smallhouse provided testimony to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearing entitled “The Essential Role of Livestock Grazing on Federal Lands and Its Importance to Rural America.” The witnesses emphasized the valuable contribution public lands ranchers make to the economic viability of rural communities and the health of America’s shared natural resources. “Ranchers are indispensable in the successful management of our public lands. Unlike government administrators, who a

Read More

USDA-NRCS Montana Offers Funding for Conservation Gardens, High Tunnels

Bozeman, Mont., July 11, 2018–The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for grants to establish community gardens, pollinator gardens and seasonal high tunnels through the Montana NRCS Conservation Garden Project. Proposals will be accepted from eligible entities for projects located in Montana, including city or township governments, county governments, special districts, state governments, nonprofit organizations, independent school districts, institutions of higher education, and Federally recognized Native American tribal governments. The NRCS has funding available for the Montana NRCS Conservation Garden Project as follows: Grants up to $4,000 will be available for a community garden. Funds are to be used for garden supplies which can include tools, seed, fertilizer, soil and soil additives, irrigation materials and garden materials. Technical assistance by NRCS staff will be available to help det

Read More

Join our team – MSGA is hiring!

The Montana Stockgrowers Association is hiring for the Director of Natural Resources position. This position is responsible for the formulation, institution, and monitoring of policies, programs, and issues related to natural resources that are affecting the cattle industry. This position also serves as the executive assistant for the Montana Association of State Grazing Districts and the Montana Public Lands Council and represents the associations at the state legislature. A full job description is included below. Director of Natural Resources Oversees natural resource division, represents MSGA at the state legislature, serves as the executive assistant for Montana Association of State Grazing Districts (MASGD), and the Montana Public Lands Council (MPLC). Reports to: Executive Vice President (EVP) MONTANA STOCKGROWERS ASSOCIATION (MSGA)

Read More
mdol-rule-change

MDOL Accepting Public Comment for Administrative Rule Changes

The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) will be holding public meetings seeking comment on a number of proposed rule changes. Click here for a complete list of the proposed rule changes. Public Meetings have been scheduled in the following communities: July 17th, 9 am at Absarokee Elementary School July 17th, 2 pm at Bridger Elementary July 18th, 9 am at The Eagles in Big Timber July 23rd, 10 am at Jefferson High in Boulder July 24th, 10 am at Townsend School Of particular note are the changes to rule 32.3.436. The change would require all female cattle over 12 months of age to be official vaccinates for brucellosis in any county that contains or borders a brucellosis designated

Read More

Livestock Groups Urge Swift Passage of ESA Amendments of 2018

The Public Lands Council (PLC), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), and the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) today urged swift passage of the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018. The amendments, introduced today by Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, are based on the Western Governor Association Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative bipartisan policy recommendations. In a letter of support, PLC President Dave Eliason, NCBA President Kevin Kester, and ASI President Mike Corn stated: “As the nation’s largest non-governmental bloc of land managers, ranchers take great pride in their integral role in species conservation and recovery. For generations, livestock producers have been dedicated to improving the health of landscapes where wildlife call home.

Read More

MSU Extension Ag Alert: Soil Acidity, An emerging issue that requires scouting

MSU researchers encourage crop producers and crop advisers to be on the lookout for decreasing soil pH leading to low production and sometimes crop failure. Farmers in several Montana counties are experiencing nearly complete yield loss in portions of their fields due to soil acidity (low pH). This is an emerging issue in the state, where low soil pH has traditionally not been a concern. MSU soil scientists, Extension Agents, crop advisers, and producers have now identified fields in 20 Montana counties with soil pH levels below 5.5, some as low as 3.8. MSU will be hosting a field day at the Post Farm (west of Bozeman) on July 13, where Clain Jones, Extension soil fertility specialist, will share research-based information on the topic in the afternoon. Bulked soil sampling (containing multiple subsamples) in the top 0 to 6-inch depth across large field landscapes may not be helpful in identifying f

Read More

USDA Report Highlights Benefits of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for Farmers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today highlighted a new report showing the positive impacts of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) on American farms. Six months after the President signed the tax cuts and reforms into law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) has released a report, titled “Estimated Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Farms and Farm Households.”  The report examines in detail how the historic tax cuts and reforms will alleviate the tax burden on American farms to help them grow and prosper.  According to the report, average tax rates are expected to decline across all farm sizes and commodity specializations and fewer farm estates will be subject to the Death Tax. “Most family farms are run as small businesses, and they should be able to keep more of what they earn to reinvest in their operations and take c

Read More

Montana Department of Agriculture Awarded USDA Farm to School Grant

Funding will help schools with procurement, distribution of local foods Helena, Mont. – Producers and students throughout Montana have reason to celebrate, as the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) has been awarded a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enhance farm to school efforts throughout the state. MDA was awarded $99,980 and will partner with the National Center for Appropriate Technology and Montana Farm to School to increase the procurement and distribution of local food in K-12 schools in Montana. “Farm to school initiatives continue to grow throughout Montana and this grant will build upon those efforts,” said Ben Thomas, Director of MDA. “When we can give our producers another market opportunity, while also providing our students

Read More

Public Lands Council Announces 50th Anniversary Celebration 

The nation’s voice for western public lands ranchers will commemorate its 50thanniversary this fall in Park City, Utah during the Public Lands Council (PLC) Annual Meeting, September 27-29, 2018. The meeting, held at the Grand Summit Resort, will bring together cattle and sheep producers, industry partners, government officials, and lawmakers to reflect on the past five decades of the PLC and the strong future ahead for the public lands ranching industry.   “Our annual meeting is always special, but this celebration will allow us to reflect on the tremendous impact of public lands ranching and to recognize the men and women who he

Read More

Cattlewomen to host second “Urban Meets Rural” tour June 23

The Fallon Creek Cattlewomen of the Ismay, Mont., area invite their urban friends and neighbors to an afternoon in the country full of ranch tours, activities and a beef barbecue on Saturday, June 23. Hosted on the Griffin Ranch 40 miles east of Miles City, the activities will start at 2 p.m. with wagon tours to learn about the cattle and farming operations of the Griffin family. Following the tour will be games and activities for the entire family. Wrapping up the day is a steak fry and full-course meal. The entire “Urban Meets Rural” tour is offered free of charge to those interested in learning more about how ranchers raise healthy, sustainable beef and care for the land. Registration and additional details are available through Eventbrite.com by searching for “Urban Meets Rural.” Allow approximately an hour travel time to the ranch from Miles City. The route includes 31 miles of paved

Read More

Stockgrowers name new Executive Vice President

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA), today, announced Jay Bodner of Helena, Mont. as their new Executive Vice President. This announcement comes after a month-long search for the new head of the association. “After an extensive search and interview process, Jay was an easy choice for the new Executive Vice President, said Bryan Mussard, President of MSGA. “He’s been with the Association for sixteen years, he is well respected throughout the state and we want to expand on his potential.” Bodner, a native of Raynesford, Mont., has worked for MSGA for the past 16 years as the Director of Natural Resources and lead lobbyist. During his tenure at MSGA, he also served as Executive Director of the Montana Public Lands Council and the Montana Association of State Grazing Districts. Jay and his wife Donna res

Read More

Producers Reminded to get Coverage Through State Hail Insurance Program

With hailstorms picking up throughout the state, the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is reminding producers to get covered through the State Hail Insurance Program. Montana producers can conveniently access and fill out applications for state hail insurance online by going to www.hail.mt.gov. Producers can insure crops against hail damage at the maximum coverage rate of $75 per acre for dryland and $114 per acre for irrigated land. Rates charged are a percentage of the insured amount and vary by county. A detailed list of rates by county and crop can be found on the program’s website. Completed forms can be emailed, mailed or faxed to the department or used as a reference when you contact the office by phone.

Read More

Rapid snowmelt causes record-breaking streamflows across the state of Montana during May

On May 11, 2018, the Clark Fork River above Missoula reached 33,250 cubic feet per second (cfs), the highest flow recorded since the river reached 48,000 cfs on June 1, 1908. This year’s peak flow was driven almost purely by the rapid snowmelt from the abundant and anomalous snowpack across the basin, unlike other big peak years (1964 and 1975) when there was a significant rain event in addition to already occurring snowmelt. “This year will stand out in history as one of the biggest years on record for purely snowmelt-driven flows in rivers across the state,” said Lucas Zukiewicz, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) water supply specialist for Montana. “The flows we experienced during May were a direct result of the well above normal to record-breaking snowpack in place before snowmelt began along with above average temperatures and abundant sunshine.” While most rivers didn’t set new records for peak flows with regards to an instantaneous flow measurement (cfs),

Read More

Carbon Conservation District to Host Montana Range Days

The Carbon Conservation District, along with the local and state Montana Range Days planning committee, is hosting the annual Montana Range Days event at the Fairgrounds in Red Lodge, Mont., June 18-20, 2018. Montana Range Days began in 1976 in Jordan, Mont., and has continued throughout the years to provide an educational format to youth ages 4-19, as well as adults of all ages, to have an on-the-ground, hands-on learning experience.  Rangeland professionals and landowners alike learn new and innovative ways of managing natural resources in Montana. Rangeland is the largest of those natural resources with rangelands, grazable pasture and forestlands covering 70 percent of the state. “We are ready for our second year as host of Montana Range Days. It is a great opportunity to educate folks about Montana’s largest natural resource, rangelands.  It also provides us a chance to showcase the Red Lodge area,” said Scott Blain, chairman for the local planning committee. Estimating a

Read More

MSGA to host agency officials at MidYear Meeting

The Montana Stockgrowers Association will be hosting their annual MidYear Meeting in Dillon, MT June 14-15. A highlight of this year’s event will be the two Agricultural issues briefings held on June 15 at 9:30 am and 2:30 pm at the Beaverhead County Fairgrounds. “This is a great opportunity to engage with high ranking officials at this historic event,” said Bryan Mussard MSGA President. “Everything from natural resources to trade to environmental regulation will be discussed during these briefings. You won’t want to miss the high caliber of speakers that will be on hand to answer your questions.” Confirmed speakers include U.S. Senator Steve Daines; Allen Rowley, U.S. Forest Service Director of Forest Management; Brian Steed U.S. Bureau of Land Management Deputy Director, Programs & Policy; Langston D. Hull, DVM, PhD USDA APHIS Director – Cattle Health Center; Alan Mikkelsen BBureauof Reclamation Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Water and Western Resource Issues. Other invit

Read More

FMCSA Announces Clarifying Regulatory Guidance for Transportation of Agricultural Commodities, Personal Conveyance

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced new regulatory guidance clarifying the longstanding 150 air-miles hours-of-service agricultural commodity exemption as well as providing additional explanatory detail of the “personal conveyance” provision. “Due to input from commercial vehicle stakeholders and the public, the Department has taken steps to provide greater clarity and flexibility regarding the intent and effect of these regulations, for the agricultural and other sectors,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. FMCSA published Federal Register notices proposing regulatory guidance for the transportation of agricultural commodities and the use of personal conveyance in December, 2017 and requested public comment. FMCSA is providing clarity on the use of the agricultural exemption and personal conveyance to both industry and law enforcement along with providing as much flexibility a

Read More
mdol-rule-change

USDA Resumes Continuous Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment

One-Year Extension Available to Holders of Many Expiring Contracts through Continuous Signup As part of a 33-year effort to protect sensitive lands and improve water quality and wildlife habitat on private lands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will resume accepting applications for the voluntary Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Eligible farmers, ranchers, and private landowners can sign up at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA)office between June 4 and Aug. 17, 2018. “The Conservation Reserve Program is an important component of the suite of voluntary conservation programs USDA makes available to agricultural producers, benefiting both the land and wildlife. On the road, I often hear firsthand how popular CRP is for our recreational sector

Read More

MSGA Applauds Introduction of Legislation Addressing Hours of Service Changes for Livestock Haulers

The Montana Stockgrowers Association applauded the introduction of the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely (TLAAS) Act, noting this legislation would ensure animal welfare and the safety of livestock haulers. The bill was introduced last week by U.S. Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Jerry Moran of Kansas, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Jon Tester of Montana, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Marco Rubio of Florida, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Doug Jones of Alabama. Following the introduction, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines has also signed on as a cosponsor. “We would like to thank Sens. Tester and Daines for cosponsoring this common-sense piece of legislation. The current Hours of Service rules for livestock haulers present serious challenges for our industry and jeopardize the health and well-being of livestock,” said Bryan Mussard President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “This has been a priority of the Associati

Read More
mdol-rule-change

Tester Works Across the Aisle to Strengthen Montana’s #1 Industry, Protect Clean Water

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today worked across the aisle to strengthen Montana’s #1 industry and protect clean water for rural communities. Tester used his position as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to include funding for important Montana initiatives in two recent bipartisan laws.  During a committee meeting, Tester voted in favor of both the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill and the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, sending them to the Senate floor for a final vote. “Both of these priorities reflect the infrastructure, agriculture, and business needs of Montana,” Tester said.  “When we invest in our farmers and our infrastructure, we see big returns to Montana’s economy.  This is further proof that when Republicans and Democrats work together, good things get done.”   The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill contains the following Montana provisions: ·         $3.7 million to keep the Fort Keogh Research Lab in Miles City fro

Read More

Secretary Perdue Applauds Red Tape Reduction for Farmers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue applauded the removal of a burdensome regulation that has long plagued family farms. The rule requiring producers to obtain Data Universal Number System (DUNS) and System for Award Management (SAM) numbers to participate in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs has been eliminated. Congress included this repeal in the FY 2018 Omnibus spending package, USDA’s official regulatory change will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow. “I’m pleased Congress helped us to achieve one of our regulatory goals of cutting red tape for producers utilizing conservation programs by exempting them from SAM and DUNS requirements,” Secretary Perdue said. “These numbers were designed for billion-dollar government contractors, not everyday farmers trying to support their families. These changes help streamline the customer experience for farmers, which is a top priority at USDA.” Prior to this rul

Read More
mdol-rule-change

Secretary Perdue Names FSA Administrator

From USDA: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the appointment of Richard Fordyce to serve as Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). In his role, Fordyce will provide leadership for FSA and its mission to support agricultural production across America through a network of over 2,100 county and 50 state offices. “As a fourth-generation farmer, Richard brings firsthand knowledge and experience to this role,” Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “I am confident that he will continue to help USDA become the most efficient, effective customer-focused agency in the federal government as he leads this customer-focused mission area.” Richard Fordyce most recently served as State Executive Director for FSA in Missouri. Prior to his appointment by the Trump Administration, Fordyce served as the director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture from 2013 to 2017. In 2015, Fordyce was awarded the Missouri Farm Bureau Disting

Read More

State Hail Insurance Staff to Hold Meetings Throughout Montana

While we are currently dealing with the fits and starts of springtime in Montana, it's important to remember that hail season is right around the corner. Staff from the Montana Hail Insurance program will soon be visiting communities throughout Montana to sell policies and educate producers on the program. Staff will be holding meetings in the following areas: Conrad, 5/29/2018, 10:00 am-12:00 pm: Pondera County Courthouse Lewistown, 5/29/2018, 5:00 pm-7:00 pm: Yogo Inn Circle, 5/30/2018, 11:00 am-1:00 pm: McCone County Fairgrounds Producers can insure crops against hail damage at the maximum coverage rate of $75 per acre for dryland

Read More

Record to well-above normal snowpack primed to melt across the state of Montana.

FROM NRCS:  After a winter and spring that dropped seemingly non-stop snowfall across most of Montana, spring runoff is finally here. April started just like many of the other months so far this snow season, with abundant precipitation falling and continuing to build the mountain snowpack, according to snow survey data collected by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Some areas in southwest Montana set new records for April precipitation (Gallatin and Madison valleys), and almost all areas except the Rocky Mountain Front and Hi-Line received near to above normal precipitation. “The crazy fact about this April was that average to well-above average precipitation fell during the first 18 days of the month; the latter half of the month was dominated by high pressure with abundant sunshine and well-above-average temperatures,” said Lucas Zukiewicz, NRCS water supply specialist for Montana. Early Apr

Read More

Secretaries Perdue and Zinke Join Forces to Combat 2018 Wildfire Season

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today hosted a fire briefing for Members of Congress at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to hear the forecast for this year’s wildfire season. Following the meeting, the secretaries sent a memorandum to wildland fire leadership highlighting the importance of inter-departmental collaboration to increase firefighter, public, and community safety as the 2018 wildfire season approaches. The 2017 wildfire season was one of the most challenging years on record, stressing the need for the USDA and the Department of the Interior to work together in combating this year’s fires. “As we begin this year’s fire season, we want to remind everyone that the protection of firefighters and public safety is the single highest priority in every fire management activity and decision that we make,” Perdue and Zinke said. “Last year we lost 14 wildland firefighters who sacrificed their own lives to protect the lives of

Read More

Nominations open for Environmental Stewardship Award

The Montana Environmental Stewardship committee has opened nominations for their 2019 award. The Environmental Stewardship Award Program is an opportunity to honor and showcase ranchers in the state who go the extra mile in the conservation and stewardship of their natural resources. Ranchers can be nominated for the award before June 1 at www.mtbeef.org. Sidney, Montana rancher Jim Steinbeisser chairs the state’s Environmental Stewardship Award Program committee. The committee consists of a team of ranchers and conservation organizations who are focused on showcasing how innovative stewardship and good ranching 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 fac

Read More

Weak Calf Syndrome

Written by Dr. Megan Van Emon, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist Newborn calves that present weak calf syndrome are those that are not able or are slow to rise, stand, or nurse.  Calves born in this condition will often die within a few days after birth.  There may be several possible reasons for weak calf syndrome.  Factors that may cause weak calf syndrome are bad weather, selenium deficiency, poor nutrition during late gestation, dystocia, cow age, and other trauma to the calf.  Weak calves must be treated or helped immediately after birth to improve their chances of survival. Due to the atypical winter and spring, we have experience

Read More

Perdue Announces Additional Hurricane and Wildfire Recovery Details

Under the direction of President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced new details on eligibility for a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster program, 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP). In total, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will deploy up to $2.36 billion that Congress appropriated through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to help producers with recovery of their agricultural operations in at least nine states with hurricane damage and states impacted by wildfire. Following the announcement, Secretary Perdue issued this statement: “Last year our nation experienced some of the most significant disasters we have seen in decades

Read More

One Montana releases Drought Resilient Ranching Workshops Report

In cooperation with MSU Extension Service and the Musselshell Watershed Coalition, One Montana hosted three workshops (Clyde Park, Two Dot, and Winnett) to provide an opportunity for collaboration in regards to drought resilience. The goal was to facilitate conversations and share knowledge to answer several important questions:  In times of drought, how can farmers and ranchers implement effective management strategies? How can producers adapt to changing weather conditions? What resources are available to predict weather and soil conditions? What resources do producers already utilize? What recommendations do participants have for the USDA on improving drought-related programs? Workshop content included presentations from Michael Downey of DNRC about the Flash Drought of 2017, Lee Schmelzer of Stillwater County Extension about the Montan

Read More

Montana to Exercise Animal Disease Response

The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) is collaborating with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other state and local agencies to conduct an animal disease response exercise, May 8-10, 2018. The three-day functional exercise will enable MDOL to practice the state’s animal disease response plan. Numerous federal, state and local government agencies will participate in the exercise, which will be based on an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the United States. “Foot-and-mouth disease would have devastating consequences for Montana’s livestock industry and how we handle the initial response would be crucial,” said State Veterinarian Marty Zaluski. “Testing our response plan in an exercise format will be very beneficial and we look forward to participating in the exercise.” Foot-and-mouth disease was last identified in the United States in 1929. FMD i

Read More

Dillon, Mont. to host Stockgrowers’ MidYear Meeting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:  Kori Anderson 406.442.3420 kori@mtbeef.org Dillon, Mont. to host Stockgrowers' MidYear Meeting The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) has announced their Midyear Meeting will be held in Dillon, Mont. June 14-15. MidYear 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 year. “Please join us for an unforgettable summer convention in Dillon!  It's time to show southwest Montana how important ranching is to preserving the west.  This year, we have invited the entire community and surrounding area to join us in this great celebration,” said Bryan Mussard of Dillon, President of MSGA. “Dillon, Montana is the crossroads of agriculture and environmentalism. Every time an endangered species is identified in Montana, there is a cow standing over it, protecting it with thousands of ac

Read More

MSGA Seeks Applicants for Executive Vice President

The Montana Stockgrowers Association is seeking applicants for the position of Executive Vice President. The Executive Vice President is ultimately responsible for the overall management of the Montana Stockgrowers Association and its operations. Qualified applicants will have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university, with a minimum of 5 years of relevant work experience at an executive level.  Candidates are required to have a background in livestock production either by experience, education or both.  Qualified applicants will demonstrate strong verbal and written communications skills, financial management and the development of human capital. Exceptional candidates will show a strong and successful background in organizational management and resource development, evidenced by years of experience, and contacts in the political, ranching and natural resources industries. The ability to travel locally, regionally, and nationally, as well as the abil

Read More

USDA Rural Development Innovation Center Launches Interactive Webpage to Share Best Practices for Rural Economic Development

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today unveiled a new interactive webpage to identify best practices for building rural prosperity. “Rural communities need forward-thinking strategies to build strong, resilient futures,” Hazlett said. “USDA’s Rural Development Innovation Center is focused on identifying unique opportunities, pioneering new, creative solutions to tough challenges, and making Rural Development’s programs easier to understand, use and access.” The webpage highlights effective strategies that have been used to create jobs, build infrastructure, strengthen partnerships and promote economic development in rural America. An interactive feature allows webpage visitors to submit comments on ways USDA can improve Rural Development program delivery. Innovation Center staff will review these recommendatio

Read More

Fifth-Generation Montana rancher chosen to attend national conference

Montana Stockgrowers Foundation selects fifth-generation Sidney rancher to attend a National leadership conference The Montana Stockgrowers Foundation (MSF) has selected Katelyn Dynneson of Sidney, Mont. to represent the Montana Stockgrowers Associaton (MSGA) at the Young Cattlemen’s Conference this year. The Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC), held May 30 – June 7, 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 cattlemen 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. “I’m incredibly excited and honor

Read More

Montana FSA: Disaster Assistance for Flood-Affected Montana Producers

2018 Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybee, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides emergency assistance to eligible livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers who have losses due to disease, adverse weather or other conditions, such as flooding, blizzards and wildfires, not covered by other agricultural disaster assistance programs. Eligible livestock losses include grazing losses not covered under the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), additional feed purchases in excess of normal and loss of purchased feed and/or mechanically harvested feed due to an eligible adverse weather event, additional cost of transporting water because of an eligible drought and additional cost associated with gathering livestock to treat for cattle tick fever. Eligible honeybee losses include loss of purchased feed due to an eligible adverse weather event, cost of additional feed

Read More

Drought Still a Possibility in 2018

From Northern Ag Network: The 2018 Montana Nutrition Conference and Livestock Forum took place in Bozeman this week. Livestock producers from Montana and the surrounding states gathered to learn about new findings in nutrition needs and livestock management.  Drought resource management was the theme of the event and attendees determined that there is still a real possibility in the summer of 2018 for drought. Dr. Megan Van Emon is the Extension Beef Cattle Specialist at Montana State University (MSU). She was an organization and presenter at the event. She says that “the event is a way to bring all of the aspects of the industry, not only beef cattle but livestock producers in general. As well as feed dealers and extension agents to hear our wealth of knowledge that we can bring together into a single event.”

Read More

Jay Bodner named interim Executive Vice President of MSGA

Montana Stockgrowers Association Director of Natural Resources, Jay Bodner, has been named the interim Executive Vice President upon the resignation of Errol Rice. Jay Bodner has served in his current capacity for the past sixteen years.   For twelve years, Errol has tirelessly led the organization; his leadership and vision will be missed. Errol has accepted a position with a Montana based firm that is a leading provider of business develo

Read More

MSGA advocates for Montana ranchers in Washington DC

[caption id="attachment_7230" align="alignnone" width="980"] The Montana Stockgrowers Association had a successful trip in DC, including meeting Secretary Pruitt(L to R) Back Row: MSGA First Vice President Fred Wacker of Miles City, MSGA Second Vice President Jim Steinbeisser of Sidney, MSGA Director of Natural Resources Jay Bodner, NCBA Environmental Counsel Scott Yager. Front Row: MSGA Communications Director Kori Anderson, EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt, MSGA President Bryan Mussard.[/caption]   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:  Kori Anderson 406.442.3420 kori@mtbeef.org MSGA advocates for Montana ranchers in Washington DC The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) traveled to Washington DC to meet with Montana’s Congressional Delegation and Agency officials last week. President Bry

Concerns over “Recreation Not Red-Tape Act”

NCBA, PLC Concerns About "Recreation Not Red-Tape Act" PLC/NCBA News Release - The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council yesterday expressed reservations about H.R. 3400, the so-called “Recreation Not Red-Tape Act,” as the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee prepares to mark up the bill. “We strongly support the principle of multiple use of public lands,” said Ethan Lane, Executive Director of the Public Lands Council and NCBAs Federal Lands. “That said, the federal government shouldn’t be in the business of favoring one use over another, and that’s what this legislation does as it's currently written.” The Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976 requires multiple use on public lands. This means that every American has a place on public lands – whet

Read More

NRCS Sets Program Funding Application Cutoff for June 1

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has set a June 1, 2018, application cutoff for agricultural operators to be considered for 2019 conservation program funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. NRCS provides funding and technical assistance to help farmers and ranchers implement conservation practices that provide environmental benefits to help sustain agricultural operations. Conservation program participation is voluntary and helps landowners and operators defray the costs of installing conservation practices. NRCS accepts conservation program applications year-round; however, applications for 2019 funding consideration must be submitted by June 1, 2018. Applications made after the June 1 cutoff will be considered in the next funding cycle. Additional information is available on the Montana NRCS website at 

Read More

NRCS Accepting Applications for Upper Clark Fork Drought Resiliency Project

From NRCS: Agricultural producers in Montana’s Upper Clark Fork River Watershed area have until May 18, 2018, to apply for financial assistance for conservation practices funded through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program. In February 2016, a proposal submitted by the Watershed Restoration Coalition was accepted by NRCS to be funded through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The program will provide funding for partnership projects between public (Federal and State) and private entities and nongovernmental organizations. The Upper Clark Fork project makes available a special five-year funding pool that NRCS will use to fund projects in the Upper Clark Fork watershed area. This is the second year funding is being made available and NRCS anticipates funding projects each year for the duration of the project agreement. The RCPP project sign-up period will

Read More

NCBA Lays Out Principles for Regulating Fake Meat

Today the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association submitted official comments to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) outlining key principles for the regulation of fake meat products. The comments, filed in response to Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) Petition Number 18-01, encourage USDA to look beyond modifying “standards of identity” in order to provide adequate protection for beef producers and consumers. “It is critical that the federal government step up to the plate and enforce fair and accurate labeling for fake meat,” said Kevin Kester, President of NCBA. “As long as we have a level playing field, our product will continue to be a leading protein choice for families in the United States

Read More

Snowpack Still on the Rise, Well Above Average, and Setting Records in Some Parts of Montana

From NRCS: Unlike February, snowfall wasn’t record-breaking in Montana during March, but it was sufficient to keep the snowpack near to well above normal on April 1, according to snow survey data collected by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “One thing is for sure; it’s been a snowy winter across the state of Montana,” said Lucas Zukiewicz, NRCS water supply specialist for Montana, “and there’s still more to come.” Last month, records were set for both monthly totals for February snowfall, and for total snowpack accumulation on March 1. Many snowpack measuring locations that feed Montana’s rivers and streams remain record high for April 1. Ten SNOwpack TELemetry (SNOTEL) and snowcourse locations remain the highest on record for this date, and 12 measurement locations are the second highest on record. These sites can be found in the mountains that feed the Upper Yellowstone River, Upper Clark Fork and Missouri Mains

Read More

USDA Implements up to $2.36 Billion to Help Agricultural Producers Recover after 2017 Hurricanes and Wildfires

‘2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program’ to Aid Recovery in Rural Communities U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make disaster payments of up to $2.36 billion, as provided by Congress, to help America’s farmers and ranchers recover from hurricanes and wildfires. The funds are available as part of the new 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP). Sign-up for the new program, authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, will begin no later than July 16. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will make these disaster payments to agricultural producers to offset losses from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and devastating wildfires. The 2017 calendar year was a historic year for natural disasters, and this investment is part of a broader suit

Read More

MDA Announces Noxious Weed Trust Fund Grant Awards

The Montana Department of Agriculture and Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council has awarded over $1.74 million for the development and implementation of noxious weed management programs in March 2018. The grants assist counties, conservation districts, local communities, tribes, researchers and educators in efforts to combat noxious weeds in Montana. 57 local cooperative projects were recommended for funding at a total of $1,218,935 or 70% of all dollars awarded. Ten research projects were recommended for funding at $248,236 or 14% and 11 educational projects are recommended for $279,681 or 16%. Combined research and educational projects recommended for funding total $527,917 or 30% of all funding available. In addition to the $1.74 million grant hearing awards, each of the 56 counties and 7 reservations in the state are eligible to receive $7,500 per year. The Montana Noxious Weed Trust Fun

Read More

Governor Bullock issues EO to aid winter hay hauling

Due to the effects of Montana's severe winter conditions, Montana Governor Steve Bullock has waived certain hay transportation requirements. Yesterday, Governor Bullock signed an Executive Order that allows for the movement of vehicles that may exceed size and weight limits when it is necessary for responding to emergency situations brought on by weather or other natural events. The Order allows baled livestock feed within the state to exceed the statutory limits by 20 percent along with allowing nighttime transportation of said oversized hay loads. While operating under this Order, commercial vehicle drivers may not require or allow fatigued drivers to operate a motor vehicle and are encouraged to meet the lighting requirements for loads over 10 feet in width. The exemption will last for thirty days unless revoked prior to expiration.    

Read More

Calling for Nominations for Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards

Award applications for the 12th annual National Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards now are being accepted. The 2019 National BQA Awards recognize five winners in the areas of beef, dairy, marketing and education: The BQA Cow Calf and BQA Feedyard awards recognize producers who best demonstrate the implementation of BQA principles as part of the day-to-day activities on their respective operations. The BQA / FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) award honors those dairy operations that demonstrate the best in animal care and handling while implementing the BQA and FARM programs at the highest levels. The BQA Marketer Award acknowledges livestock markets, cattle buyers and supply-chain programs that promote BQA to their customers and offer them opportunities to get certified. The BQA Educator Award celebrates individuals or companies that provide high quality and innovative training to individuals that care and handle

Read More

2018 Montana Nutrition Conference and Livestock Forum

Written by Megan Van Emon, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist   Each year Montana State University Extension and the Montana Feed Association host the Montana Nutrition Conference and Livestock Forum.  Dr. Rachel Endecott has been, for the past several years, the conference coordinator and this year she passed the reins on to me.  I want to thank Dr. Endecott for her support and developing this conference into such an excellent event. This year we will continue this excellent conference with the theme “Drought Resource Management.”  The drought in 2017 was one of the worst seen in the Northern Great Plains and we hope to provide additional resources for livestock producers, Extension faculty, and agriculture professionals.  The conference will take place April 17 and 18 at the GranTree Inn in Bozeman, MT. We have an excellent line-up of speakers from Montana State University, University of Wyoming, USDA-ARS Fort Keogh, and elsewhere.  These speakers will focus o

Read More

USDA Announces $8.4 Million to Support Veterans and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement (OPPE) today announced up to $8.4 million in available funding for training and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers. Funding is made through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). “The USDA is committed to reaching all farmers and ranchers,” said OPPE Director Diane Cullo. “Through the 2501 program, the USDA is building lasting relationships among these farmers and ranchers, the local organizations that serve them, and the USDA’s local, state, regional, and national offices.” The 2501 Program was originally authorized by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990. 2501 grants seek to enhance the equitable participation of socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers in USDA resources and programs, such

Read More

The Montana Hunter Advancement Program:  Ethics, Access and Education

A Project of Common Ground www.montanamasterhunter.com Common Ground, a collaborative group of landowner and sportsmen organizations, is developing a comprehensive, advanced hunter education program designed to put more ethical, educated, and effective hunters in the field. The 2018 pilot course is now accepting applications from qualified hunters. The program’s mission is to provide advanced hunter education that increases hunter competence, ethical hunting behavior, private land access and knowledge of agriculture and land stewardship. The goals of the program are as follows: To educate hunters about landowner issues and concerns related to hunter access, including but not limited to, respect for private property, appropriate use of ranch roads, impacts of w

Read More

“Positive Developments” in Omnibus Spending Bill

Colin Woodall, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), released the following statement: “The omnibus spending bill includes a number of positive developments for cattlemen and women, including language that would prevent 200,000 farms and ranches from being regulated like toxic waste sites, delay the implementation of electronic logging devices for livestock haulers for another six months, and provide a critical fix for wildfire funding that also provides expedited authority to implement much-needed vegetation management on federal lands. We are also glad to see refinements to the tax code that address the 199A issue. NCBA and our affiliates have been working closely with Congress to ensure the spending bill addresses issues of concern for U.S. ranchers and beef producers, and we are glad to see our policy priorities reflected in the legislation. We urge Congress to take the next step and vote ‘Yes’ when the bill comes up fo

Read More

Grazing Lands Focus of Upcoming National Conference

The National Grazing Lands Coalition (NatGLC) will host the 7th National Conference on Grazing Lands Dec. 2-5, 2018, at the Peppermill in Reno, Nev. Conference organizers expect more than 800 ranchers, professors, land managers, researchers, public officials, conservationists, and students to attend this national conference and participate in the exchange of ideas and information on the latest grazing land issues. “We are excited about bringing this national conference to Nevada,” said Chad Ellis, chair of the National Grazing Lands Coalition. “Grazing lands make up more than a quarter of the private land acres in the United States and serve many roles from homes for livestock and wildlife to sponges for rainfall, carbon reservoirs, hunting and fishing grounds, and much, much more.” Featured speakers include two renowned grazing experts, Jim Gerrish and Fred Provenza. Gerrish is a grazing lands producer and consultant dedicated to aiding farmers and ranchers in more effectively m

Read More

Tester to Washington: Cut the Crap

Senator Cosponsors Bill to Stop Federal Government from Regulating Cow Pies   (U.S. Senate)—U.S. Senator Jon Tester is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation that will stop the federal government from regulating cow pies. The Fair Agriculture Reporting Method (FARM) Act permanently flushes a regulation that would require small family farmers and ranchers to report air emissions from animal waste to federal officials. “It's not just the smell coming out of Washington, this regulation is total crap,” said Tester. “Farmers and ranchers have plenty of real work to do, counting cow turds is not in the job description. This bill will bring some Montana commonsense to a place that’s totally out of touch with life in rural America.” For nearly 40 years, family farmers and ranchers were exempted from reporting animal-caused air pollution to the government. But a recent D.C. Circuit Court threw out the ranch exemption fo

Read More

USDA and Local Partners Offer Opportunities to Reduce Wildfire Risk

The goal of the Capital 360 partnership is to improve forest health by integrating resource management across all administrative boundaries. Fuels reduction treatment projects will be strategically placed across Broadwater, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and Powell counties. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Forest Service are working together to fund the Capital 360 partnership across private and public lands. NRCS projects will use Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds. While EQIP applications are accepted year-round, applications for the Capital 360 initiative must be received by May 18, 2018, to be considered for this funding period. Contact your local USDA field office for more information and to apply. Broadwater – Justin Meissner, 406-266-3146 x 103 Jefferson County – Nancy Sweeney, 406-287-3215 x 301 Lewis and Clark County – John George, 406-449-5000 x 101 Powell County – Glen Green, 4

Read More

Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame seeks nominations for Class of 2018

The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame (MCHF) is seeking nominations for the 2018 Hall of Fame induction round. Every year, the MCHF honors living and historical figures that have made notable contributions to Montana’s western heritage. “We invite people from across Montana to identify those in their communities who are most deserving of inclusion in the hall of fame,” said Bill Galt, board president. “Nominations are open and welcome from the public at large.” 2018 marks the eleventh year of honoring inductees. The Board of Trustees will cast votes to select inductees from each of the 12 Trustee Districts based on nominations from the public. Nominees can be men, women, ranches, stage coach lines, animals, hotels, etc.—anyone or anything that has made a notable contribution to our Montana Western heritage. A

Read More

MDA Encouraging Support for Ag Literacy Program During Tax Season

The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is encouraging Montanans to support the Montana Agriculture in the Classroom program this tax season by contributing to the voluntary check-off program when filing this year’s income taxes. “As the average age of farmers and ranchers continues to rise, it’s more important than ever that we educate the next generation on the importance of agriculture,” said MDA Director Ben Thomas. “Contributing to the check-off allows filers to invest directly in students and teachers throughout Montana.” Filers can make tax-deductible donations to the program by checking the box for Ag Literacy in Montana Schools, by selecting either line 69c on the long form or 18c on the EZ form. The form indicates $5 and $10 donation amounts, as well as a blank line to write in the filer’s designated donation amount. The Montana Agriculture in the Classroom program provides schools and

Read More

NCBA Applauds Another 90-Day Delay in Electronic Logging Device Mandate

Mandate Was To Have Taken Effect on Sunday, March 18 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester today issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Transportation's announcement that the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate will be delayed another 90 days for agricultural haulers: "This is obviously good news for America's cattle haulers and producers, and it will provide FMCSA (the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) more time to educate our livestock haulers on the ELDs while industry works on solutions to the current Hours of Service rules that simply do not work for those hauling live animals. "We would like to thank Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez for listening to our concerns and working with us to find a permanent, workable solution."

Read More

USDA Offers Renewal Options for Expiring Conservation Stewardship Contracts

Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to renew their Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contract. Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps private landowners build their business while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their entire operation. Participants with existing CSP contracts expiring on Dec. 31, 2018, can access the benefits of the recent program changes through an option to renew their contracts for an additional five years if they agree to adopt additional activities to achieve higher levels of conservation on their lands. NRCS will mail contract renewal notification letters to all participants whose contracts expire in 2018, which will contain instructions on how to apply for renewal. Applications to renew expiring contracts are due by April 13.

Read More

Current Snowpack and Coming Spring Weather Critical to Summer Water Supplies

Snowfall in some locations of Montana has been record-breaking during February, resulting in snowpack totals for March 1st that are well above normal for most river basins, according to snow survey data collected by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Twenty-five SNOTEL (SNOwpack TELemetry) stations and manual measurement locations set new records for February totals, and 21 measurements at other locations were the second highest on record. “Abundant mountain, valley and plains snowfall this winter have Montana under a blanket of snow at the beginning of March,” said Lucas Zukiewicz, NRCS water supply specialist for Montana. “While this is great news for long-term water supply, it’s been hard on a lot of families and businesses in the plains.” Snowpack totals are above normal in all major river basins of the state of Montana for March 1, and some measurement locations are setting records for this date. Fifteen snowpac

Read More

Montana Stockgrowers Foundation offers $1,000 scholarship

The Montana Stockgrowers Foundation is offering an Educational Heritage Scholarship in the amount of $1,000. “Thanks to the vision and hard work of  Stockgrower members in Southeastern Montana, the Montana Stockgrowers Foundation is once again able to offer our Educational Heritage Scholarship," noted Foundation Chairman, John Grande.  "Every year we are impressed by the quality of the college students who apply for this scholarship and we again look forward to selecting and meeting a new winner.” To be eligible for the Educational Heritage Scholarship, students must currently be enrolled in college and have completed at least one semester of coursework, be a member of Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA), and demonstrate

Read More

Hay Donations and Transportation Needed

Helena, Mont. – Due to the ongoing impacts of severe winter weather, there is currently a significant and urgent need for hay on both the Northern Cheyenne and Fort Belknap reservations. Producers willing to donate hay and/or hauling services can contact emergency personnel at the following numbers: Northern Cheyenne: Gene Small – (406) 665-6290 or (406) 477-8474 Fort Belknap:            John Young – (406) 353-4874 The Montana Hay Hotline is also available to producers as an online tool to donate, buy, or sell hay. Producers needing donated hay or producers wanting to donate hay can go to the site and create a donation listing by selecting “Donation” from the “Forage Type” dropdown menu. Users can also search existing listings to see what is currently available to purchase or create a new listing of hay for sale. Visit the online tool at:  http

Read More

Over $700,000 awarded to strengthen and diversify Montana’s Ag Industry

Governor Steve Bullock and the Agriculture Development Council today announced the recipients of $726,600 in grants and loans to agricultural businesses and organizations. “Investing in innovative, value-added projects is vital to Montana’s agriculture industry and our rural communities,” said Governor Bullock. “These projects are a great representation of the diversity of Montana agriculture and showcase some of the ingenuity happening throughout the different sectors of Montana’s economy.” A total of 25 businesses and organizations were awarded funds through the Growth Through Agriculture program (GTA) which was established by the legislature to strengthen and diversify Montana’s agriculture industry by developing new agricultural products and processes. GTA grants and loans are awarded by the Agriculture Development Council,

Read More

Soil health and acidity workshop offered by MSU

The Chouteau County Soil Acidity Working Group has organized a soil acidity and soil health workshop at the Fort Benton Ag Center, 1205 20th St., on Feb. 27, in cooperation with Montana State University Extension, the Chouteau County Conservation District, Big Sandy Conservation District and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service. MSU Extension will co-host a soil acidity and soil health workshop at the Fort Benton Ag Center on Feb. 27. Registration for the workshop will begin at 9:30 a.m., with presentations beginning at 10 a.m. Most agricultural soils in Montana have near-neutral to alkaline conditions with surface soil at pH 6.5 to 8, according to Clain Jones, a soil fertility specialist with MSU Extension. Some areas of Montana, however, have developed acidic soil layers in the seeding zone, which consists of about the top 6 inches of soil, Jones said. Speakers at the conference will address the issues surrounding increasing soil acidity.

Read More

Montana FSA: Administration appoints new state executive director

The Trump Administration recently appointed Michael Foster as the new State Executive Director (SED) for the USDA Montana Farm Service Agency (FSA). Foster began his new position on Feb. 20, 2018. Foster was born and raised in Townsend, Montana, and currently resides in Bozeman. From 1991 to 1994, he represented the 32nd District in the Montana House of Representatives. He then served as a state senator representing Montana's 20th District from 1995 to 1998, where he was majority whip. Foster most recently served as regional director of advocacy for St. Vincent Healthcare. The Farm Service Agency serves farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs. The agency offers farmers a strong safety net through the administration of farm commodity and disaster programs. FSA continues to conserve natural resources and also provide

Read More

Cattlemen Applaud Introduction of Strong Bipartisan Bill in U.S. Senate

Ten Republicans, Ten Democrats Join Together As Initial Co-Sponsors on Fischer-Donnelly FARM Act The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) applauded the introduction of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate that would prevent farms, ranches, and other agricultural operations from having to report livestock manure data under CERCLA, the law that governs toxic Superfund sites. The bipartisan bill was introduced earlier this week with the support of 10 Republican co-sponsors and 10 Democratic cosponsors. “There’s not a lot of truly bipartisan legislation in Washington these days, but one thing that pretty much everybody can agree on is that a responsibly-run cattle ranch isn’t a toxic Superfund site,” said fifth-generation California rancher and NCBA President Kevin Kester. “On behalf of cattle producers across America, I want to sincerely thank the Senators from both parties who worked together to introduce this bipartisan bill. I also want t

Read More