MSGA News

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.”

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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

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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

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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 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.    

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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

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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

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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

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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

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“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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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."

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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,

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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.

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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

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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

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USDA, FDA Announce Formal Agreement to Bolster Coordination and Collaboration

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. announced at the White House a formal agreement aimed at making the oversight of food more efficient and effective by bolstering coordination between the two agencies. The formal agreement outlines efforts to increase interagency collaboration, efficiency, and effectiveness on produce safety and biotechnology activities while providing clarity to manufacturers. “Today, Commissioner Gottlieb and I signed a formal agreement to promote coordination and the streamlining of capacities and obligations on shared concerns and jurisdiction,” said Secretary Perdue. “Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act and assigned responsibilities to the USDA and the FDA. The USDA has the knowledge and expertise to support the FDA’s work related to farming. We at the USDA have a motto: Do Right,

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Montana Stockgrowers Foundation to sponsor Cattlemen’s Conference attendee

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about the structure of the U.S. cattle industry and gain insight on the legislative process that guides our business. Montana Stockgrowers Foundation will send one Montana delegate to this year’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC), held May 30 – June 7, 2018. Applications, due March 15, are available at mtbeef.org. The Young Cattlemen’s Conference is an opportunity for cattlemen and cattlewomen between the ages of 25 and 50 to visit segments of the beef industry in other parts of our nation with young ranchers from other states. Facil

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USDA Launches MARS, Delivering Market Data to Agricultural Producers Around the Globe Faster and Easier

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the launch of a new electronic data platform to deliver market price information to the commodities industry. The new web-based platform, Market Analysis and Reporting Services (MARS), uses state-of-the-art technology to present detailed data sets in a more customer-focused way to better support competitive markets for producers and help stabilize food prices for American families. “USDA Market News is the most relied upon source of unbiased agricultural market data,” said Greg Ibach, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “USDA’s on-site market reporters gather, analyze and publish unbiased data all day long to ensure fair food prices for consumers across the country and around the world. The MARS project applies the best data management practices to make that data available when and where farmers, packers and processors need it.” As Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue promi

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CattleFax Predicts Large Supply and Strong Demand in 2018

CattleFax celebrated its 50th anniversary during the popular CattleFax Outlook Session at the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. CattleFax Senior Analyst Kevin Good highlighted the industry’s profitability during 2017 and said the trend looks to continue into 2018. CattleFax analysts told the audience U.S beef cow inventory increased 2.8 million head in four years, and an additional 200,000-400,000 head are expected to be added to the herd over the next few years. Good said there are growing supplies of protein coming to market during the year ahead, including large supplies of competing proteins, which will weigh on all beef prices. “We have a bigger supply of all proteins ahead in 2018. For the past year we were very fortunate to have solid export volume,” said Good. “We are forecasting trade to increase year-over-year in 2018, but still, the rate of production is out-pacing the rate of exports.” Although beef production is expected to increase t

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Wyoming Rancher testifies before U.S. Senate Committee, calls for less regulation

Today Niels Hansen, Secretary/Treasurer of the Public Lands Council and a member of NCBA, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works to explain how onerous federal regulations undermine conservation goals. “Cattle producers pride themselves on being good stewards of our country’s natural resources. We maintain open spaces, healthy rangelands, provide wildlife habitat and feed the world. Despite these critical contributions, our ability to effectively steward these resources is all too often hampered by excessive federal regulations like the ones we are discussing today,” Mr. Hansen said in written testimony. Ranchers own and manage more land than any other segment of agriculture, implementing proven conservation practices that have sustained the environment for generations. Mr. Hansen highlighted how specific laws and regulations pose challenges to this rich heritage: The 2015 Waters of the United States Rule: “As a li

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WOTUS Delayed for Two Years

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of the Army (Army) have finalized a rule adding an applicability date to the 2015 Clean Water Rule (the 2015 Rule). This rule provides clarity and certainty about which definition of “waters of the United States” is applicable nationwide in response to judicial actions that could result in confusion. The new applicability date will be two years after today’s action is published in the Federal Register, during which time both agencies will continue the process of reconsidering the 2015 Rule. “Today, EPA is taking action to reduce confusion and provide certainty to America’s farmers and ranchers,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “The 2015 WOTUS rule developed by the Obama administration will not be applicable for the next two years, while we work through the process of pr

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Up to $3 M in funding now available for locally-focused environmental education grants

EPA has recently announced that up to $3 million in funding for locally-focused environmental education grants will be available under the 2018 EE Local Grant Program.  EPA will award three to four grants in each of EPA’s ten Regions, for no less than $50,000 and no more than $100,000 each, for a total of 30-35 grants nationwide. Proposals are due March 15, 2018. The Requests for Proposals will be posted on www.grants.gov later this week. In addition to other environmental topics, the 2018 EE Local Grant Program includes support for projects that reflect the intersection of environmental issues and agricultural best-practices, conservation of natural resources, food waste management, and natural disaster preparedness. Funded projects will increase public awareness of those topics and help participants to develop the skills needed to make informed decisions. A Request for Proposals (also called a Solicitation Notice) cont

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Assistance Available to Agricultural Producers through the Conservation Stewardship Program

Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). 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. NRCS plans to enroll up to 10 million acres in CSP in 2018. While applications for CSP are accepted year-round, applications must be received by March 2, 2018, to be considered for this funding period. Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land. CSP al

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Perdue Announces USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018 during a town hall at Reinford Farms in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. “Since my first day as the Secretary of Agriculture, I’ve traveled to 30 states, listening to the people of American agriculture about what is working and what is not. The conversations we had and the people we came across helped us craft USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018,” said Secretary Perdue. “These principles will be used as a roadmap – they are our way of letting Congress know what we’ve heard from the hard-working men and women of American agriculture. While we understand it’s the legislature’s job to write the Farm Bill, USDA will be right there providing whatever counsel Congress may request or require.” USDA’s 2018 Farm Bill and Legislative Principles: FARM PRODUCTION & CONSERVATION Pro

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‘Benefits beyond the ranch’ 

Montana ranching family honored with Environmental Stewardship Award for enduring efforts to care for water, wildlife, soil and ranching business.   “I hope they slow down every once in a while,” Chuck Hahn says, nodding at the steady line of boaters, anglers and campers streaming north to Canyon Ferry Lake. He’s not talking about their speedometers, either. “I just see people so rushed,” he says. “If they’d just take the time to slow down, look, observe, take what they see here into consideration, they’d see: this all interacts together, and we’re all here to try and make things better.” While a 360-degree view of their Townsend, Montana ranch could probably flash through his mind in a millisecond of memories, the scope wouldn’t fit in a passenger window at 6

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USDA Investing Millions in Wildfire Mitigation and Water Quality Projects Through Joint Chiefs’ Partnership

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest nearly $32 million this year to mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality and restore healthy forest ecosystems in 24 states and Puerto Rico.  More than $690,000 of that funding will support the Capital 360 forestry project in Montana. Since 2013, USDA has invested $176 million in 56 Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership projects, which focus on areas where public forests and grasslands intersect with privately-owned lands. "Through Joint Chiefs, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works with agricultural producers and forest landowners to improve forest health using available Farm Bill conservation programs, and the Forest Service enhances forest health on public lands -- stitching together a larger footprint of healthy ecosystems in priority areas," said Tom Hedt, NRCS acting state conservationist in Montana Along with mitigating fire risk, Joint Chiefs’ projects work to improve water quality b

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Tester announces “Trade Transparency and Public Input Act”

As trade representatives prepare for next week’s round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is fighting to provide Montanans a voice in the renegotiation of the nation’s largest trade agreement. Tester’s Trade Transparency and Public Input Act will force the U.S. Trade Representative to create an online public comment portal to ensure that Montanans can provide their input.  Montanans export nearly $600 million in products to Canada annually through NAFTA.  “Montanans whose livelihoods depend on this trade agreement should be able to provide their input throughout the entire process without having to jump through hoops and navigate red-tape,” Tester said.  “Every day Montana farmers and ranchers, small business owners, and manufacturers sell their goods across the Canadian border, and it is critically important that their voice is hea

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MSU Extension and MSGA announce 2017 Steer of Merit certifications

Montana State University Extension and the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) distinguished 127 “Steers of Merit” out of 1,120 entries for 2017. Out of 762 steers entered in the Carcass Division, 91 were deemed Steers of Merit. In the Ultrasound Division, 36 out of 358 entries received the distinction. The exhibitors and breeders of the top five steers in each category were honored at MSGA’s Annual Convention, Dec. 13-14 in Billings at the Northern Ag Network Lunch. The top five steer entries in the Carcass Division were: 1) Tracy Pauley, Beaverhead County (Probst Livestock, breeder); 2) Sydney O’Neil, Hill County (Chad and Steph Murnin, breeder); 3) Walker Lee, Wheatland County (breeder unknown); 4) Joel Longie, Beaverhead County (Vanek Cattle, breeder); and 5) Hallie Massey, Flathead County (Mark Passmore, breeder). The top five steer entries in the Ultrasound Division were: 1) Rowan Ellingson, Richland County (Gartner Denowh Angus Ranch, breeder); 2) Kaleb Flowers, Yellow

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MSU faculty seek to increase participation of women in agriculture with $94,000 USDA grant

Source: MSU Data from the U.S. Bureau of Statistics and United States Department of Agriculture show while women constitute less than 1 percent of the nation’s agricultural scientists, engineers, and policymakers, they occupy the majority, about 60 percent, of lower-paid agricultural jobs on America’s farms and ranches. Six female professors at Montana State University and Flathead Valley Community College hope to increase the percentage of women agricultural scientists, engineers and policymakers by way of a $94,000 USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant, “Empowering Women in Agriculture.” The grant is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s

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Off to a Good Start this Winter, Montana Snowpack Currently the Best in the Western U.S.

From NRCS: The snowpack across most of the western U.S. isn’t looking good in most states, but it’s a different story in the state of Montana, according to snowpack data collected by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). After a hot and dry summer, snowfall began at the end of September in the Treasure State, helping to alleviate fire concerns and beginning the seasonal snowpack at high elevations. Many basins began the new 2018 water year (starting Oct. 1) with at least some snow on the ground at the higher elevations, and most basins had snow at all elevations by the beginning of November. Consistent snowfall statewide during November increased snowpack totals through the third week of the month before a warm and dry period near the holiday melted some low elevation snow and slowed mountain accumulation. The early December lull in snowfall lasted through the middle of t

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Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame to honor inductees at Induction Ceremony & Western Heritage Gathering in Great Falls, Feb. 3

The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF & WHC) extends an invitation to all to attend the Annual MCHF Induction Ceremony & Western Heritage Gathering, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at the Best Western Heritage Inn in Great Falls. “We are excited to be celebrating our 12th anniversary of inductions into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame,” said MCHF & WHC President Jeff Bolstad. “We are honored to celebrate those who embody the qualities of our Montana communities and way of life.  If you are proud of your Montana Western heritage and wish to help preserve and pass it on to the next generation, we invite you to join us in Great Falls for this special event." The Inductee Recognition Ceremony Brunch will begin at 10:30 a.m. to celebrate the notable accomplishments and lasting legacies of the inductees to the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Tickets are $30 per person. Early registration is recommended as this event sells out well

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New WPS Requirements for pesticide applicators

Cecil Tharp (MSU Pesticide Education Specialist) Montana pesticide applicators and owners of agricultural establishments should pay special attention to new worker protection standard requirements as of January 2018. The US EPA published a revised Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) in 2015 to better protect agricultural workers from pesticide exposure. Revisions went into effect January 2, 2017; however, Montana pesticide applicators are reminded of a few revisions that recently went into effect January 1, 2018. The following paragraphs define the new 2018 requirements while providing additional WPS resources. Most of the revised WPS requirements became effective on January 2, 2017. Three

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MSU College of Agriculture hosts first ‘College of Ag Connects’ forum Jan. 15

The Montana State University College of Agriculture and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station invite members of the agricultural community and the public to attend its first college-wide public forum, “College of Ag Connects” on Monday, Jan. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The forum is slated to engage with the Montana agricultural community on current and local issues by highlighting relevant, ongoing college programs and projects in agricultural teaching, research, and Extension. Faculty from each of the college’s five academic departments will present overviews of their teaching and research, followed by a question and answer session. MSU Vice President of Agriculture Charles Boyer will deliver opening and closing remarks. Tracy Dougher, associate dean of MSU’s College of Agriculture, said she hopes

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Montana Grazing Lands Education and Demonstration Project Funding Available

The Montana Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) is accepting applications for mini-grants and demonstration projects. The mini-grants will provide funding for educational events throughout the year and support partners and organizations with an interest in the conservation, education, and awareness of grazing lands and natural resources in Montana. Limit mini-grant funding requests to a minimum of $50 and a maximum of $1,000. There is no application deadline. Submissions will be considered year-round by the Montana GLCI steering committee. “The GLCI mini-grants and demonstration projects help organizations to both test and implement advanced resource solutions, as well as educate Montanans young and old about those advancements and the value of our grazing lands,” said Kirt Walstad, Montana GLCI co-coordinator. Demonstration project applications are due February 16, 2018. The current focus is on innovative projects addressing grazing management, soil and rangeland

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Regional Pesticide Education Trainings offered across Montana in 2018

Cecil Tharp (MSU Pesticide Education Specialist) The Montana State University Pesticide Education Program (PEP) is coordinating five regional private applicator initial certification trainings across Montana. These seven-hour training opportunities are designed for individuals desiring to learn more about pesticides, while simultaneously qualifying for a Montana private applicator license. A private applicator license allows individuals to apply restricted use pesticides on land they own, rent or lease. Training opportunities are available within Northern Cheyenne Reservation (Lame Deer) on January 17th, Blackfoot Reservation (Browning) on January 30th, Stillwater County (Columbus) on February 1st, Fort Bel

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State Beef Councils Extend Checkoff Campaign

A new generation of consumers is getting to know beef through the new beef checkoff-funded Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. campaign, launched in October. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of its introduction, the iconic brand has been refreshed, celebrating its reintroduction to a variety of today’s consumers, channel partners and food influencers. State beef councils are beginning to extend the campaign’s content and features, educating and exciting their states’ consumers about the many benefits beef provides to their lives. Of special interest to state councils has been the campaign’s “Rethink the Ranch” anthem video and related video spots, showcasing real, hard-working farmers and ranchers from around the country. Nationally, the videos have generated more than 765,000 video views to date, and reached more than 3.5 million consumers. State beef councils have downloaded various Rethink the Ranch content for use on their own social media properties and through other con

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Soil Health Workshops Across Montana in January

A series of soil health workshops aimed at helping Montana producers learn new strategies and techniques for improving soil health on their land will be held across the state January 16-19, 2018. Attendees will learn how to add biological inputs to their operations to increase yield, decrease chemical inputs, and improve the resilience and health of their soils. Practices such as no-till (including potato and beet rotations), intensive grazing, diverse rotations, cover crops, and more will be discussed in the context of actual working farms and ranches. The practice of improving soil health on farms and ranches is a movement that is sweeping across the nation. These workshops will introduce soil health principles for producers both large and small who are interested in improving the soil health on their land. The workshops will also talk about practical ways to implement soil health practices effectively, and how

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PLC Opens Application for the Nick Theos Scholarship Program

The Public Lands Council (PLC) today opened applications for the Nick Theos Scholarship Program, offering qualified college students a unique opportunity to attend the PLC 2018 Spring Legislative Conference April 10 - 12 in Washington, D.C. Selected scholarship recipients will join conference attendees as they meet with members of Congress, federal government agency officials, and leading policy influencers to communicate policy priorities of the public land ranching industry. Two Nick Theos scholarships are available for 2018. The scholarships include a $250 stipend, hotel accommodations, and complimentary conference registration. While PLC is unable to pay for travel in full, additional sponsorships to help cover travel costs are encouraged. Nick Theos, a founding member of PLC and lifetime supporter of the livestock industry, passed away on April 11th, 2013, at the age of 92. The scholarship was created by the Theos family to encourage the next generation to engage in the p

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MSGA applauds appointment of Montana ranchers to national board

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of 27 members to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board. Two Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) members were among the appointees. Turk Stovall of Billings, Mont. and Katie Cooper of Willow Creek, Mont. will serve three-year terms on the Board. “We are thrilled to have Turk and Katie represent Montana on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board,” said Errol Rice Executive Vice President of MSGA, “They are proven leaders in Montana and will be excellent advocates for the Beef Checkoff at the national level.” Stovall and Cooper will be joining MSGA member, Lynda Grande of Columbus, Mont. who is currently serving a three-year term. The Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board is composed of 99 members, all of whom are beef producers or importers of cattle, beef or beef products. The board is authorized by the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985.

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Montana Stockgrowers honor “Ranch Woman of the Year”

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) recently recognized Connie Townsend of White Sulphur Springs, Mont. as “Ranching Woman of the Year”. The announcement was made Wednesday, December 13 during the 133rd MSGA Annual Convention and Trade Show in Billings. Connie (Niebel) Townsend grew up on the family farm and ranch in Four Corners. After attending school in Bozeman, she gra

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Montana Ford Stores and Montana Stockgrowers Association give away Ford Super Duty pickup

Keith Bales was the lucky winner of a 2017 Ford Super Duty pickup given away by Montana Ford Stores and Montana Stockgrowers Association at the 133rd Annual MSGA Convention and Trade Show. Keith and his wife, Christl, ranch near Otter, Mont. and have been long-time members of the association.  Each year Montana Ford Stores donates a new Ford pickup to be given away to one lucky MSGA member attending the Annual Convention and Trade Show. This year, Congressman Greg Gianforte was on hand to draw the winning ticket! “The winning partnership with Montana Stockgrowers Association and Montana Ford Stores continues to grow and prosper,” according to MSGA President, Bryan Mussard of Dillon. “We can’t thank the Montana Ford Stores enough for their continued support.” 2017 was the ninth

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USDA Seeks Applications for $10 Million in Conservation Innovation Grants

Funding is available in three focus areas, including grazing lands, organic systems and soil health BOZEMAN, Mont., Dec. 18, 2017 – USDA is offering grants for innovative ideas for conservation strategies and technologies. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS ) plans to invest $10 million in the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, funding innovative conservation projects in three focus areas: grazing lands, organic systems and soil health. Grant proposals are due Feb. 26, 2018. "Conservation Innovation Grants play a critical role in developing and implementing new methods to help our customers across the country and here in Montana conserve natural resources, strengthen their local communities, and improve their bottom lines," said Tom Hedt, NRCS state conservationist in Montana. "Today's announcement supports our efforts to help producers build economically-strong and resilient farms and ranches by providing producers tools to ut

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‘Benefits beyond the ranch’

Townsend ranching family honored with 2018 Environmental Stewardship Award for influential results in caring for water, wildlife, soil and ranching business.   The Hahn Ranch was honored as the 2018 Environmental Stewardship Award winners Dec. 13 at the Montana Stockgrowers’ Annual Convention in Billings. The award recognizes cattle ranchers who are exemplary stewards of the land, livestock, wildlife and natural resources. The family has been ranching in the Missouri River Valley near Townsend for more than 100 years, working to preserve and enhance their natural resources for generations to come. Chuck Hahn, Dusty Hahn and Cory and Jennilee Bird accepted the award on behalf of the family ranch. The ranch was nominated for the award by collaborators with the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) for their partnership on projects that have benefited fisheries and water quality on the ranch and for downstream users. But their conservation practices expan

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MSU Extension offers farm management workshops

BOZEMAN – Montana State University Extension will offer farm management workshops in five communities, including Lewiston, Ronan, Choteau, Great Falls and Glasgow, from January to March 2018. MSU Extension will offer farm management workshops in five communities, including Lewiston, Ronan, Choteau, Great Falls and Glasgow, from January to March 2018. Extension economists George Haynes, Kate Fuller and

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Sec. Perdue: U.S. Farm Exports Hit 3rd Highest Level on Record

Climb Eight Percent in FY 2017 to $140.5 Billion U.S. agricultural exports totaled $140.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2017, climbing nearly $10.9 billion from the previous year to the third-highest level on record, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today. As it has done for well over 50 years, the U.S. agricultural sector once again posted an annual trade surplus, which reached $21.3 billion, up almost 30 percent from last year’s $16.6 billion. “U.S. agriculture depends on trade. It is great to see an increase in exports and we hope to open additional markets to build on this success,” Perdue said.  “I’m a grow-it-and-sell-it kind of guy.  If American agricultural producers keep growing it, USDA will keep helping to sell it around the world.” China finished the fiscal year as the United States’ large

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Cattlemen Respond to National Monument Reductions

"Egregious Example of Federal Overreach Corrected in Win for Rural Communities" The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Public Lands Council applauded the White House’s plan to reduce the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. The decision – which follows an extensive review of monument designations by the Department of Interior – is a clear win for rural communities who have suffered the consequences of egregious federal overreach. “Previous administrations abused the power of the Antiquities Act, designating huge swaths of land as national monuments without any public input or review,” said Dave Eliason, president of the Public Lands Council. “Rural communities in Utah and across the West have paid the price. Sweeping designations locked up millions of acres of land with the stroke of a pen, undermining local knowledge and decimating rural economies.” The President’s decision means that traditional uses of the land, including livestock graz

USDA Publishes School Meals Rule, Expands Options, Eases Challenges

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today provided local food service professionals the flexibility they need to serve wholesome, nutritious, and tasty meals in schools across the nation. The new School Meal Flexibility Rule, published today, makes targeted changes to standards for meals provided under USDA’s National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, and asks customers to share their thoughts on those changes with the Department. U.S. Se

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USDA Helps Rural Communities Restore Water Systems Damaged by Disasters

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2017 – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced the award of two grants to help rural water and sewer utilities recover from recent and future natural disasters. “USDA is a strong partner in the long-term recovery of rural communities after a season of devastating hurricanes,” Perdue said. “These grants will provide resources rural communities need to assess damage, develop rebuilding plans and get access to technical assistance and clean water. USDA is standing with these affected communities every step of the way.” USDA is awarding the National Rural Water Association (NRWA) and the Rural Communities Assistance Partnership (RCAP) each a $500,000 grant. The funding is being provided through the 

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U.S. Farm Exports Hit 3rd Highest Level on Record

Climb Eight Percent in FY 2017 to $140.5 Billion WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2017 – U.S. agricultural exports totaled $140.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2017, climbing nearly $10.9 billion from the previous year to the third-highest level on record, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today. As it has done for well over 50 years, the U.S. agricultural sector once again posted an annual trade surplus, which reached $21.3 billion, up almost 30 percent from last year’s $16.6 billion. “U.S. agriculture depends on trade. It is great to see an increase in exports and we hope to open additional markets to build on this success,” Perdue said.  “I’m a grow-it-and-sell-it kind of guy.  If American agricultural producers keep growing it, USDA will keep helping to sell it around the world.” China finished the fiscal year as the United States’ largest export customer, with shipments valued at $22 billion, followed closely by

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Cattlemen: House-Passed Tax Bill “Step in the Right Direction”

Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and fourth-generation Nebraska cattle producer, today released the following statement in response to U.S. House approval of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: “House approval of this comprehensive tax-reform legislation is a step in the right direction, but we will continue to work hard to make sure that final legislation doesn’t include provisions that would create undue and unfair burdens for certain segments of our industry. “Specifically, this bill would immediately double the death-tax exemption and put the tax on the path to extinction in five years. That’s a major victory for family ranchers and cattle producers. The bill also fully preserves the step-up in basis, allows businesses to immediately and fully expense the cost of new investments, increases Section 179 small-business expensing limits, and expands cash accounting. These are all victories for cattle producers. “Unfortunately, the House-passed

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NRCS Accepts Applications for Water Quality Projects in Camp, Godfrey Creek Watershed

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering funding through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program to farmers and ranchers in the Camp and Godfrey Creeks watershed in Gallatin County to reduce sediment and agricultural related nutrient loads and E.coli and improve riparian function. While NRCS accepts applications for EQIP on a continuous basis, NRCS has set a deadline of Dec. 15, 2017, to apply for funding.   The Camp and Godfrey Creek watershed received special funding last year as part of the National Water Quality Initiative, which targets funding in watersheds to improve water quality. Both Camp and Godfrey Creeks were listed in the “Impaired Waters” category within the Montana Department of Environmental Quality 2014 Water Quality Integrated Report for excessive sediment and agricultural related nutrients loads.   With the help of partners at the local level, NRCS identified priority watersheds within states where on-farm conserv

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Montana FSA: USDA Announces Enrollment Period for Safety Net Coverage in 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that starting Nov. 1, 2017, farmers and ranchers with base acres in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net program may enroll for the 2018 crop year. The enrollment period will end on Aug. 1, 2018. “Since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to-year, producers must enroll by signing a contract each program year,” said Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Administrator Steve Peterson. “I encourage producers to contact their local FSA office to schedule an appointment to enroll.” The producers on a farm that are not enrolled for the 2018 enrollment period will not be eligible for financial assistance from the ARC or PLC programs for the 2018 crop should crop prices or farm revenues fall below the historical price or revenue benchmarks established by the program. Producers who made their elections in previou

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Montana Stockgrowers Association secures $300 million agreement for Montana beef

(Nov 8) - The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA), Cross Four Ranch, and Chinese eCommerce retailer JD.com, today, signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to facilitate collaboration on Montana sourced beef to China as well as the potential investment in Montana. This agreement transpired following Daines’ agricultural roundtable where Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai, Chinese business representatives, and Montana agricultural leaders discussed potential opportunities for expanding Montana beef exports. “While there are details to be finalized, this MOA represents a great step in the right direction for Montana ranchers and the state of Montana,” said Errol Rice, Executive Vice President of MSGA. “The Montana Stockgrowers Association thanks, Sen. Daines for his work on expanding opportunities and access to overseas markets for Montana ranchers, particularly in lifting t

Beef councils gather to discuss Beef Checkoff Program

Representatives of 28 state beef councils gathered near Denver Oct. 16 to 18 to learn more about national 2018 Beef Checkoff Program efforts and share their thoughts on how those programs could be expanded or extended through their states. The Partnerships in Action Conference in the offices of the NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. The checkoff 2018 fiscal year began Oct. 1. Among items of discussion was the relaunch of the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” brand and website, with a “Rethink the Ranch” approach and new videos and promotion on social media platforms. The program went live Oct. 9 and showcases the people who raise beef, celebrates the nutritional benefits of beef for active lifestyles and provides culinary inspiration. “This annual Federation of State Beef Councils event is a collaborative effort to kick off the checkoff program of work with enthusiasm,” according to Todd Johnson, NCBA senior vice president, Federation Services. “Our state team members

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Montana FSA: USDA issues safety-net payments to Montana farmers

USDA Montana Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting State Executive Director (SED) Amy Webbink announced that approximately 19,010 Montana farms that enrolled in safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill will receive financial assistance for the 2016 crop year. The programs, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), are designed to protect against unexpected drops in crop prices or revenues due to market downturns. “These safety-net programs provide help when price and revenue fall below normal,” said Acting SED Webbink. “Payments to barley, canola, corn, lentils, oats, dry peas, grain sorghum, soybeans and wheat producers are helping provide reassurance to our Montana farm families who are standing strong against low commodity prices compounded by unfavorable growing conditions.” Producers in 55 Montana counties have experienced a significant drop in prices or revenues below the benchmark established by the ARC or PLC program and thus, will re

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Montana Stockgrowers Foundation to host fire and drought seminar

Producers to discuss challenges and options following fire and drought Montana Stockgrowers Foundation has joined with the Southeast Montana Livestock Association and the MSU Extension Service to provide a premier program to help livestock producers navigate management challenges following a devastating fire and drought season. Experts from around the country will address issues including how to manage the tax ramifications of drought influenced decisions, insurance, and risk management tools to assist in managing future risk. The program will begin at 1:00 pm, November 15 at the Range Riders Museum in Miles City, Montana. This event is free to the public. For additional information, please contact the MSGA office at 406.442.3420.   Speakers: Amy Iverson is a CPA in the Billings

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New Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Campaign Celebrates Consumers’ Love for Beef and the People Who Raise It

Twenty-five years after establishing one of the nation’s most iconic food brands, America’s beef farmers and ranchers are leveraging the strong equity of Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. to reintroduce the brand to a new generation of consumers. The relaunch will blend the strongest assets from the long-loved brand – such as the famous Aaron Copland “Rodeo” music and the famous tagline – and couple those with new creative assets. In total, the effort showcases the pleasure that beef brings to meals, the people who raise it and the nutritional benefits (such as protein) that beef provides. “Consumers love beef, and as with all foods, today’s consumers want the whole story about the beef they buy.” said Alisa Harrison, senior vice president, Global Marketing and Research, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the beef checkoff, which funds the campaign. “Our research shows that the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand is still extremely popular among con

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Record Keeping and Culling Strategies

By Megan Van Emon, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist It’s that time of year again, the leaves are beginning to change, the weather is cooler, and weaning is happening across Montana.  Not only is this a stressful time of year for the calves, but also for producers.  Critical decisions are being made in herds to prepare for the future and the hardest part is making that cull list.  However, a cull list shouldn’t be made without first discussing and analyzing records. Maintaining accurate and up-to-date records is essential to making decisions for your herd.  These records become even more important during the weaning season as calves and cows are marketed.  Examples of records sheets can be found on the MSU Beef Cattle Extension Website at http://animalrangeextension.montana.edu/beef/records.html.  The records available pertain to beef cattle production, grazing, hay, treatment, supplementation, etc.  They are made to fit in a three-ring binder.  Keeping written and/or electronic r

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Montana Beef Council Wants to Invest $860,000 in Programs

The Montana Beef Council would like to invest $860,000 into programs of beef promotion, education, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications in the fiscal year 2018, which began Oct. 1. Programs approved could be funded through Montana’s 50 cents in-state portion of the $1 per head beef checkoff, after Montana producers provide affirmative consent to Montana Beef Council to retain that portion of their assessment. In action concluding its Sept. 20-22 meeting in Billings, the MBC Board of Directors—all Montana volunteers, including members from nearly all segments of the beef supply chain—approved checkoff funding for a total of 26 demand-building and producer communication project funding requests for checkoff fund

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MONTANA STOCKGROWERS SEEKING APPLICANTS FOR LEADERSHIP SERIES

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) is excited to announce the third year of a leadership program for young leaders in the ranching industry. The Stockgrowers Leadership Series is designed to provide training and skills to future leaders of Montana’s ranching communities. The 16-month class kicks off in January 2018 in Helena. Applications are due November 20. “We are excited to continue and expand the Leadership Series,” says Errol Rice, MSGA Executive Vice President. “Investing in leadership is a core strategy of MSGA’s long-range plan and our industry’s success will rely on our ability to develop a pipeline of leaders who are disciplined, well trained and inspired by the future of ranching.” The Leadership Series is a 16-month program where participants will take part in a number of workshops and sessions exposing them to different aspects of the ranching business today. These topics include policy work, banking and finance, management, business relationships, awarenes

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Applications Now Open for Ten $1,500 CME Beef Industry Scholarship

The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is now accepting applications for 2018-2019 beef industry scholarships sponsored by CME Group and administered by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF). Ten scholarships of $1,500 each will be awarded to outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry, and one student—the overall essay winner—will receive a trip to the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in Phoenix, Ariz. “The CME Beef Industry Scholarship represents an investment in the future of the cattle industry, and is an outgrowth of nearly three decades of partnership with the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and NCBA,” said Tim Andriesen, managing director of agricultural products for CME Group. “By helping the next generation of cattlemen and women further their education, CME Group is helping to advance the future of the U.S. agricultural economy. Participating in this scholarship enables us to further underscore the importance of risk management to the b

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Rancher to Congress: “Japan and Asia-Pacific Markets Vital for U.S. Beef”

Today Kelley Sullivan, NCBA member and rancher from Santa Rosa Ranch in Crockett, Texas, testified at a hearing on Capitol Hill about the importance of expanding export opportunities for U.S. beef in Asia. Held by the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, the hearing asked witnesses for their perspectives on specific actions needed to deepen trade relationships with fast-growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region. Ms. Sullivan’s remarks focused on the benefits of trade agreements for U.S. beef producers. She urged Congress and the Administration to protect current agreements, such as the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), and move quickly to strike a bilateral deal with Japan. “Today, the success or failure of the U.S. beef industry depends on our level of access to global consumers,” she said. “We are extremely concerned that prolonged NAFTA negotiations and withdrawal/modifications to KORUS will pose unnecessary setbacks for the U.S. beef industry. Our ardent desire

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Montana FSA: Low interest emergency physical loss loans available for two counties

BOZEMAN, Mont. – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Administrator Steven J. Peterson announced that physical loss loans are available for two counties in Montana. Farm operators who have suffered major physical losses caused by multiple wildfires that occurred on July 15, 2017, and continuing, may be eligible for emergency loans. This Administrator’s Physical Loss Notification has been issued for Mineral and Missoula counties as the primary damaged area. Additionally, six Montana counties are contiguous to this designated disaster area, making these producers also potentially eligible for programs based on this designation. The contiguous counties are: Flathead, Granite, Lake, Powell, Ravalli and Sanders. Producers in Clearwater, Idaho and Shoshone counties in Idaho are also eligible because they are contiguous counties. FSA’s low interest emergency loans may be made available to any applicant with a qualifying loss in the counties named

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Montana Beef Council provides many benefits

Written by Kristin Larson My last couple articles were about the timeline and planning process of the $.50 of the dollar checkoff that goes to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board for national contractors to contract for beef promotion, education, research and producer communication.   The other $.50 for many states stays in the state it was collected in with their qualified state beef council. Montana is one of these states. The Montana Beef Council was created in 1954 by cattlemen as a marketing organization for the Montana Beef industry. It is one of 45 state beef councils. A 12-member board of directors guides the Montana Beef

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USDA Issues Farm Safety Net and Conservation Payments

Total Exceeds $9.6 Billion Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that over $9.6 billion in payments will be made, beginning this week, to producers through the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Conservation Reserve (CRP) programs.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing approximately $8 billion in payments under the ARC and PLC programs for the 2016 crop year, and $1.6 billion under CRP for 2017. “Many of these payments will be made to landowners and producers in rural communities that have recently been ravaged by drought, wildfires, and deadly hurricanes,” Perdue said.  “I am hopeful this financial assistance will help those experiencing losses with immediate cash flow needs as we head toward the end of the year.” The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and offer a safety net to agricultural producers when there is a substantial drop in rev

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DNRC cuts interest rate on rangeland improvement loans

HELENA, Mont. – Montana ranchers considering rangeland improvement projects received a boost this month when the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) reduced interest rates for Rangeland Improvement Loans from 3 percent to 1.5 percent.     “It’s been a challenging summer for our farmers and ranchers,” said Stacey Barta, Rangeland Resources Program Coordinator with the Montana Department of Natural Resourc

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Senate Confirms Censky and McKinney for USDA

By  Jerry Hagstrom, DTN Political Correspondent The Senate late Tuesday confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominations of Stephen Censky as Agriculture deputy secretary and Ted McKinney as Agriculture undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. Censky has been the CEO of American Soybean Association in St. Louis and McKinney has been the Indiana agriculture director. Until now Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has been the only Senate-confirmed political appointee at the Agriculture Department, and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said in a news release he was pleased to provide Perdue some help. “I am pleased that the U.S. Senate was able to work in a bipartisan and swift manner to confirm Stephen Censky and Ted McKinney,” Robe

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Nitrate Toxicity in Beef Cattle

Written by Megan Van Emon, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, Montana State University Elevated nitrate concentrations can be found in forages that have been grown under stress, such as severe drought conditions.  Nitrate toxicity is caused by animal consuming feeds and water that have elevated levels of nitrate or nitrite.  Care should be taken when feeding cattle cereal grains/hay, corn stalks, orchardgrass, and other feeds known to contain high nitrate levels. Nitrate is not toxic to animals unless consumed in excessive levels.  When nitrate is consumed in excessive levels, nitrite poisoning can occur.  Normally, forage nitrate is broken down in the rumen to nitrite by microbes, and then to ammonia.  The ammonia is used by rumen microbes for protein.  However, when nitrate is consumed in elevated levels, nitrite accumulates within the rumen faster than it can be converted to ammonia.  The nitrite then enters the small intestine and is absorbed into the bloodstream.  Th

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Outcome Based Grazing Allows Flexible Livestock Management on Public Land

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has launched a demonstration program allowing stakeholders in the grazing community an opportunity to achieve rangeland health goals on public land while allowing greater flexibility in livestock management decisions. The program focuses on responsive outcome based grazing on public lands. Six to twelve “Outcome-Based Grazing Authorizations” will be identified by the BLM in the first twelve months, and the selected permittees will participate in the demonstration program. Participants will actively implement a responsive grazing management plan to achieve habitat and vegetation goals on public land. The program will examine the effectiveness of a more flexible approach to livestock grazing on public land. “Previously, ranchers have been held to a process and prescription method that tells them how to manage their land,” said Dave Eliason, Utah rancher and president of the Public Lands Council (PLC). “It’s

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MSU to host annual Celebrate Agriculture event Nov. 3-4

The Montana State University College of Agriculture and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station will host its 18th annual Celebrate Agriculture event, set for Nov. 3-4 on the MSU campus. The event is held in honor of the state and university’s joint agricultural legacy and in celebration of current students, agriculture alumni, and MSU’s extended agricultural community across Montana. MSU Vice President of Agriculture Charles Boyer said the event is a longstanding tradition at the university. “Each year, we look forward to the weekend in November that’s dedicated to celebrating our university’s agricultural roots alongside a large portion of Montana’s agricultural community,” Boyer said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity

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