MSGA News

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

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

</script>

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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 

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

Public Lands Stewards Recognized by BLM at PLC Meeting

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced three 2017 Rangeland Stewardship Award recipients at the Public Lands Council (PLC) Annual Meeting in Flagstaff, Ariz. Recipients included Utah rancher, Bill Kennedy, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, and The Stewardship Alliance of Northeastern Elko County. “Public lands ranchers plan their operation around sustaining a healthy, diverse and productive rangeland,” said Dave Eliason, Utah rancher and president of the Public Lands Council. “They invest time, money and resources into the process and it’s exciting to see some of these phenomenal ranchers recognized for their efforts.” Kennedy, the recipient of The Rangeland Stewardship Permittee Award, runs an operation on a combination of federal, private, and state land located southeast of Bear Lake, Utah. Kennedy was recognized for his leadership in livestock management and advocating for proper grazing on public lands. The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association received The Rangelan

Read More

Secretary Perdue Hosts U.S. Senators for 2017 Fire Briefing

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue hosted U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) today at the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for a 2017 fire briefing to hear about this year’s efforts to contain wildfires out west as well as the way the USFS is funded. Currently, the agency has to borrow money from prevention programs to combat ongoing wildfires. Secretary Perdue believes Congress should treat major fires the same as other disasters and that those fires should be covered by emergency funds so prevention programs are not raided. “This has been a tremendous fire season,” said Secretary Perdue. “As wildfire costs exceed $2 billion, I appreciate those in Congress who recognize this funding issue and are working to make a permanent fix that allows us to manage our forests preemptively. While we can’t stop these

Read More

USDA Makes Disaster Resources Available to Rural Development Borrowers

Source: USDA The United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development is providing tools and resources to help rural communities recover from the devastation brought by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue highlighted today. The emergency procedures will provide additional flexibility for Rural Development borrowers and community partners to help them recover as quickly as possible and ensure they have what they need to rebuild their homes, businesses, and communities. “Our team at Rural Development is devoted to supporting rural communities ravaged by the recent hurricanes,” said Secretary Perdue. “We are committed each day to the recovery effort, collaborating with federal, state and local partners to begin to rebuild.” USDA Rural Development has provided disaster recovery assistance by coordinating with private partners to restore utilities to rural communities in hurricane-affected regions. Rural Development is helping businesses and util

Read More
moving cattle montana pasture

U.S. Beef Exports Stay Red-hot in July

U.S. beef exports remained well above last year’s pace in July, posting one of the highest monthly export value totals on record, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). July pork export volume dipped below its year-ago level for the first time in 15 months, with export value also down slightly. July beef exports totaled 104,488 metric tons (mt), up 5 percent year-over-year, while export value reached $623.7 million – up 18 percent from a year ago and the highest since December 2014. For January through July, exports increased 11 percent in volume (711,364 mt) and 15 percent in value ($3.97 billion) compared to the first seven months of last year. Exports accounted for 13.2 percent of total U.S. beef production in July and 10.7 percent for muscle cuts only. These were the highest ratios of 2017, but down from 14.2 percent and 11 percent, respectively, last July. For January through July, beef exports accounted for 12.8 per

Read More

How to handle donated hay

Written by Tim Fine, Extension Agent Growing up, I heard the expression “you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” on more than one occasion and I try to abide by those words of wisdom.  For those of you not familiar with the term, in a round-about way, it means that if someone is willing to give you something, be gracious and accept it. I usually try to abide by this principle and it is generally a good principle to adopt, but there are those times that, even though the giver may have the best of intentions, the gift may be more than you bargained for. Case in point is all of the hay that is being shipped into our state from more-than-generous people from all over the country. We all know that this is much needed and greatly appreciated but what is potentially coming with t

Read More

Forest Service Wildland Fire Suppression Costs Exceed $2 Billion

Secretary Perdue Renews Call for Congress to Fix “Fire Borrowing” Problem U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that wildland fire suppression costs for the fiscal year have exceeded $2 billion, making 2017 the most expensive year on record.  Wildfires have ravaged states in the west, Pacific Northwest, and Northern Rockies regions of the United States this summer.  As the Forest Service passed the $2 billion milestone, Perdue renewed his call for Congress to fix the way the agency’s fire suppres

Read More

Montana to cut programs and services amid budget shortfall

Source: DTN HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Montana plans to cut programs and services to fill a projected $227 million budget shortfall in the midst of a disastrous drought and dozens of wildfires that are draining the state treasury. More than 90 percent of Montana is in drought, creating tinderbox conditions that have led to its worst fire year since 2012. The state has spent more than $50 million on fire suppression since June — not counting the U.S. government costs to respond to fires on federal lands — and the blazes are likely to burn well into the fall, driving up those costs. Montana has already exhausted its wildfire suppression reserve account and other emergency funds. Tax collections are below the estimates set in the state budget, adding to the financial strain.

Read More

Strong First Half for U.S. Red Meat Exports

U.S. beef exports continued to trend above year-ago levels in June, capping a very strong first half of the year. Exports also achieved higher values on a per-head-slaughtered basis and accounted for a steady-to-higher percentage of total production. June beef exports were the largest of 2017, reaching 241.5 million pounds – up 11 percent year-over-year and the largest June total since 2011. Export value increased 10 percent to $602.5 million. For January through June, beef exports were up 12 percent in volume (1.3 billion pounds) and 15 percent in value ($3.35 billion) compared to the first half of last year. Exports accounted for nearly 13 percent of total U.S. beef production in June and 10 percent for muscle cuts only – each about even with a year ago. The ratios were the same for January through June, which was also steady with the first half of last year. Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $264.51 in June, up 6 percent from a year ago. Through June, per-head ex

Read More

Cattlemen Launch Monthlong Media Campaign for Comprehensive Tax Reform

NCBA Launches new website: CattlemenForTaxReform.com The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today kicked off a media and advertising campaign that will shine a spotlight on how various federal tax provisions impact America’s cattle and beef producers. The campaign, which will focus heavily on the death tax, aims to build support in Washington for comprehensive tax reform that makes our tax code fair for agricultural producers. The campaign will be centered around a new website,CattlemenForTaxReform.com, and wi

Read More

Montana Running Ranchers Complete 190-mile Relay

190 miles. 29 hours 46 minutes. 12 runners. Two vans. One long night. Those were the makings of a fun, even if exhausting, weekend for the Montana Running Ranchers. The group, consisting of ranching community members from Montana and surrounding states, recently competed at the Ragnar Relay Colorado and finished competitively among teams from across the region. The Running Ranchers take part in a Ragnar Relay event each year to showcase beef and ranching to running communities who often have questions about agriculture, beef, and many who may have never met a rancher. Of course, the relay events are great fun with runners of all skill levels from many states across the country. This year’s Ragnar Relay Colorado took place high in the Rocky Mountains. The start line festivities took place at Copper M

Read More

Secretary Perdue Announces USDA Improvements for Customer Service & Efficiency

Source: USDA Please click here to watch a video message Secretary Perdue sent to USDA staff Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the realignment of a number of offices within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in order to improve customer service and maximize efficiency.  The actions involve innovation, consolidation, and the rearrangement of certain offices into more logical organizational reporting structures.  The changes build on the

Read More

30 Eastern Montana farmers and ranchers to get $2.5 million to offset damage from wildfire

from the Helena Independent Record: About 30 Montana farmers and ranchers whose property was destroyed by wildfires will get $2.5 million in federal assistance to help rebuild. U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., sent a press release Friday announcing the money, which is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Environmental Quality Incentive Program. “After our relentless persistence, Montana farmers will begin to see some relief from what has been a historically difficult summer,” Tester said in the release. “This is the first wave of meaningful resources that will help producers rebuild after horrifi

Read More

Montana Department of Ag Expands Hay Lottery

Helena, Mont. – The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced the expansion of the Montana Hay Lottery. MDA is partnering with Miles Community College to house the donated hay and help with logistics and the Montana Stockgrowers Foundation to help coordinate cash donations to be used for transportation costs. The lottery will be administered by MDA, with drawings taking place in early October. Producers who have already applied for the lottery, but were not chosen in the first drawing, will still be eligible for subsequent drawings. "The outpouring of support for Montana's ag community has been nothing short of amazing. We saw a need to help coordinate donations, so we decided to expand the lottery," said MDA Director Ben Thomas. "We are grateful to MCC and the Stockgrowers for partnering with us to get these resources to those affected by fires and drought." Those interes

Read More

Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Tax Reform Agenda

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today reiterated his strong support for President Trump’s tax reform agenda, as the president outlined today in North Dakota.  Perdue issued the following statement: “Farming is a complicated operation, so to place more burdens on the people of agriculture through the tax code has never made any sense.  Most agricultural enterprises are small businesses, and the costs and time required simply to comply with the tax code are impediments to what these folks really ought to be doing, and that’s growing and producing food to feed the United States and the world. “It’s an old, not-so-funny joke that farmers live poor and die rich, because of the value of the land they own.  It isn’t right that a family’s hard work will be punished by the Death Tax, through which many farms have to be broken up or sold off just to pay the tax bill.  I urge Congress to take up the tax reform agenda to give American agriculture the best chance to succeed.  That

Read More

After the flames: How fire affects soil nutrients

By Clain Joines, MSU Extension Soil Fertility Specialist Hundreds of thousands of acres of forest, rangeland and cropland have sadly gone up in smoke this summer in Montana. In addition to the devastating effect on personal property and direct loss of crops and livestock, fire can affect soil properties and soil nutrients. The impact is highly dependent on the fire intensity/duration and the proportion of plant material that is burned. Timber and shrubs will burn hotter and longer with greater impact on soil than range- or crop land. Fast moving grass fires have minimal impact on soil nutrients and soil health compared to slow moving, intense fires in moderate to heavy fuels. In general, fires reduce the pool of nutrients stored in organic matter, release a flus

Read More

Low Stress Livestock Handling Workshops in Western Montana

Low Stress Livestock Handling Workshops feat. Curt Pate to be held in Western Montana  This is a field-based workshop that will occur in three locations in western Montana. Curt Pate is a renowned stockman who has been leading stockmanship and safety demonstrations, workshops, and clinics for over a decade. The workshop will focus on livestock handling methods that reduce cattle stress, making for safer and more effective cattle movement. Low stress, efficient stock movement can help improve soil health under improved grazing strategies, while also producing a high quality finished product, a win-win!   More details on this workshop and registration is on the Missoula Conservation District website: htt

Read More

Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Tax Reform Agenda

(Washington, DC, August 30, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today expressed his strong support for President Trump’s tax reform agenda as a great benefit to the American agriculture community. Perdue issued the following statement: “Just as he has done with excessive and costly regulations, President Trump has focused on the problem of onerous and burdensome taxes. Most agricultural operations are, in fact, small businesses, and the time and costs associated with merely complying with the tax code are impeding American prosperity. Farming is a complex enterprise, as even the smallest operations know, so the attention and financial resources that are diverted to handling taxes are an extra barrier to success. “People should be able to keep more of what they have earned through the sweat of their brows, which will also invigorate the entire United States economy. The Death Tax is one section of the code that is particularly offensive to agriculture, as too many f

2017 Pest Management Tour offers Last Chance Credit Opportunities for Private Pesticide Applicators across Southcentral Montana.

from: Cecil Tharp (MSU Pesticide Education Specialist) The Montana State University (MSU) Pesticide Education Program is offering the Pest Management Tour for pesticide applicators across southcentral Montana, Private Applicator Training (PAT) District 5, from October 2nd – 6th (Figure 1). Private applicators within PAT district 5 should ensure they have attained 6 private applicator credits prior to the January 1st, 2018 deadline to avoid losing their private certification. Applicators can assess their credit information at https://mtplants.mt.gov/ by selecting “pesticide programs” and “pesticide license search” prior to entering their license number. Applicators can also contact their MSU Extension cou

Read More

Women Stepping Forward for Agriculture Conference Coming to Billings

Make plans now to attend the annual Women Stepping Forward for Agriculture Conference at the DoubleTree Hotel in Billings, Mont., Sept. 26-28, 2017. This year’s conference is packed with speakers that will deliver information on today’s most pressing topics:  farm safety and disaster preparedness, increasing profitability, women in ag business, self-defense, and media outreach. Featured speaker Bob Budd, executive director of the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, will discuss mentorship during his talk, Stolon or Seed: How will you Grow? Sisters on the Fly, the largest outdoor women’s group in the United States, will tell the story of how they got started and how they have grown. They will have a parking lot party following the presentation. Closing speaker will be Rebecca Undem, a dynamic speaker and author who will show participants how to get their groove back. Registration for the conference is $70 prior to Sept. 1 and $90 after that date. Registration inf

Read More

Agriculture Secretary Perdue Details Response to Recent Wildfires

Forests and Grasslands in Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies Affected U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today outlined the U.S. Forest Service’s assets and responses to a recent outbreak of extreme wildfires over large parts of the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies.  The fires, affecting forests and grasslands, are burning across Western Montana, Idaho, Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. “Our courageous USFS firefighters do an outstanding job and are able to catch 98 percent of all fires before they become large fires,” Perdue said.  “To help them, we will make sure firefighters have all the necessary tools at their disposal in order to save lives, property, and our forests.  We will also work hand-in-hand with our federal partners, particularly the Department of Interior, during this aggressive fire season.” Many different types of equipment and firefighting resources are available to fire ma

Read More

Half a Million Acres Burned in Montana, Cattle Losses Limited

From Drovers: In Montana almost a half million acres have burned this summer, with more than half of the acreage coming from one wildfire. Fortunately, cattle losses have been limited according to officials with the Montana Stockgrowers Association. The National Interagency Fire Center reports that 29 wildfires are currently active in Montana with the bulk of them occurring in the western region of the state, which is predominately forested public land and has fewer cattle. In all there have been 494,526 acres burned by wildfires in the Big Sky State. The largest fire is the Lodgepole Complex fire in the eastern portion of the state. It is currently at 93% containment and has burned 270,723 acres. Most of the fire in the Lodgepole Complex ar

Read More

Drought disaster increased to 31 counties, 6 reservations

From the Great Falls Tribune: Gov. Steve Bullock issued an executive order on Friday declaring 31 counties and six Indian Reservations are in drought disaster. The counties are: Blaine, Big Horn, Carter, Chouteau, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Fergus, Garfield, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, Lake, Lincoln, McCone, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sanders, Sheridan, Treasure, Valley, Yellowstone, Wheatland and Wibaux. Also included are the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, Crow Indian Reservation, Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation and the Flathead Indian Reservation. On July 19, Bullock declared a drought disaster

Read More

2017 Cattle Slaughter Up, but Increasing Slower than Last Year

Total cattle slaughter is up 5.9 percent year over year for the year to date.  This follows a 6.4 percent year over year increase in 2016.  However, steer slaughter (which makes up more than half of cattle slaughter) is growing more slowly in 2017 and is up 3.5 percent so far this year compared to 2016.  The year to date increase is declining as weekly steer slaughter has averaged just 1.1 percent year over year increases since late April. Steer slaughter peaked seasonally in June and will trend lower week to week for the remainder of the year. On July 1, the number of steers in feedlots was 1.4 percent above last year and is projected to keep steer slaughter growth relatively low for the remainder of the year.  Total annual steer slaughter may be limited to less than a two percent year over year increase in 2017. Heifer slaughter is up 10.5 percent so far in 2017.  This compares to a 4.7 percent year over year increase in 2016.  The July

Read More

HAY LOTTERY WILL EXPAND INTO MONTANA, SOUTH DAKOTA

North Dakota’s hay lottery will expand to include Montana and South Dakota, with each state to conduct its own drawing beginning in early September. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring credited Ag Community Relief, a Michigan organization, and North Dakota State University for making the relief effort possible. “We are pleased to open the hay lottery to producers in South Dakota and Montana experiencing drought and wildfire,” Goehring said. “Ag Community Relief, the Michigan organization arranging a large-scale hay donation convoy to North Dakota in mid-August, is fundraising and continues to seek donations and volunteers. We are so appreciative of their efforts. We are also grateful to NDSU for providing the space and staffing to store and distribute the donate

Read More

USDA and SCORE Launch Innovative Mentorship Effort to Support New Farmers and Ranchers

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with officials from SCORE, the nation’s largest volunteer network of expert business mentors, to support new and beginning farmers. Today’s agreement provides new help resources for beginning ranchers, veterans, women, socially disadvantaged Americans and others, providing new tools to help them both grow and thrive in agri-business. “Shepherding one generation to the next is our responsibility. We want to help new farmers, veterans, and people transitioning from other industries to agriculture,” said Secretary Perdue. “They need land, equipment, and access to capital, but they also need advice and guidance. That's what SCORE is all about.” SCORE matches business professionals and entrepreneurs with new business owners to mentor them through the process of starting-up and maintaining a new business. USDA and its partners across rural America are working with SCORE to support new farming and ranchin

Read More

Montana Fire Relief: Updated Ways to Help

The Lodgepole Complex Fire is now at 93% containment. Firefighters will continue fire repairs and mop-up. Command of the fire has been turned over to a local Type 3 organization. Sixteen homes have been destroyed as well as an unspecified but significant amount of fencing and haystacks. Numerous secondary structures have also been destroyed. McCone Electric has lost over 120 power poles. An additional 16 structures not included above were identified via satellite imagery as destroyed but type of use has not yet been determined. There are currently 26 active fires in the state of Montana. The Montana Stockgrowers Found

Read More

Secretary Perdue Appoints New Leadership for Food Safety

(Washington, D.C., August 1, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today made two key appointments to help fulfill the vital mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply. Perdue announced that Carmen Rottenberg was selected as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety and Paul Kiecker was named Acting Administrator for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The two will serve in those capacities until presidential nominees are confirmed by the Senate for those roles. In making the announcements, Secretary Perdue issued this statement: “Ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply is our most important responsibility, and it’s one we undertake with great seriousness.  Both Carmen and Paul have dedicated their careers to the mission of food safety and I am pleased to have appointed them to these important roles within the USDA,” said Secretary Perdue. “I c

conservation applications

NRCS Offers Wildfire Recovery Assistance to Ag Producers in Montana

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering technical and financial assistance to agricultural landowners impacted by 2017 wildfires across Montana. NRCS is accepting applications for its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to assist with livestock grazing deferment, damaged fence and post removal, livestock fencing, water facility development, critical area plantings, and cover crops. NRCS accepts conservation program applications year-round; however, applications for 2017 wildfire recovery funding must be submitted by Aug. 15, 2017. “NRCS in Montana is prepared to assist landowners in dealing with the effects of wildfires and dry weather conditions,” said Lisa Coverdale, NRCS state conservationist for Montana. “We want to work with landowners to help them address fire related resource concerns on their farm or ranch operations.” Hi

Read More

Agriculture Fire & Drought Assistance Hotline

As drought conditions worsen and fires burn throughout the state, the Montana Department of Agriculture has launched the Agriculture Fire and Drought Assistance Hotline. The hotline will serve as a tool to help connect those affected to available resources, programs and donations, as well as to provide information on how others can help. Questions related to hay/feed donations, livestock, fencing, and transportation can be directed to the hotline. The hotline number is 1-844-515-1571 and will be staffed 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. “Montana’s agriculture industry has been disproportionately impacted by disasters this year, both drought and fire,” said MDA Director Ben Thomas. “There’s currently a major need for resources and there’s been an overwhelming swell of support from folks across the state and throughout the country. We saw a need to get information out about resources available and ways to help connect peop

Read More

Secretary Perdue on Japan’s Planned Increase of Tariff on U.S. Frozen Beef

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2017 – The government of Japan has announced that rising imports of frozen beef in the first quarter of the Japanese fiscal year (April-June) have triggered a safeguard, resulting in an automatic increase to Japan's tariff rate under the WTO on imports of frozen beef from the United States.  The increase, from 38.5 percent to 50 percent, will begin August 1, 2017 and last through March 31, 2018.  The tariff would affect only exporters from countries, including the United States, which do not have free trade agreements with Japan currently in force. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement: “I am concerned that an increase in Japan's tariff on frozen beef imports will impede U.S. beef sales and is likely to increase the United States’ overall trade deficit with Japan.  This would harm our important bilateral trade relationship with Japan on agricultural products.  It would also nega

Read More

Montana FSA: USDA offers help to fire-affected farmers and ranchers in Montana

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Acting State Executive Director, Amy Webbink in Montana, reminds farmers and ranchers affected by the recent wildfires that disaster assistance programs are available to support their recovery efforts. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) can assist farmers and ranchers who lost livestock, grazing land, fences or eligible trees, bushes and vines as a result of a natural disas

Read More

Drought expansion in Montana

Much of Montana and parts of the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas had no rain this week; some areas have been drier than normal for the last 2 to 3 months; and some drought indicators reflect dryness for the last 12 months. D3-D4 were expanded in northeast Montana, and D3 expanded in northwest South Dakota and was added in southeast South Dakota, where the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) was consistently at those dry levels for the last 1 to 9 months. D1-D4 expanded in northwest North Dakota where the SPI was consistently at those dry levels for the last 1-6 months. D0-D2 expanded across much of Nebraska, with collateral expansion of D1-D2 in adjace

Read More

Wildfire Relief: Here’s How you Can Help

From Northern Ag Network: For those who are interested in helping, here is a running list of what is needed and where you can help or donate. Please contact the team leads before showing up with donations. This is one of the most important things you can do to help our neighbors in coordinating. We have so many generous neighbors and are trying to make the most out of the donations without overwhelming the locals! HAY, TRUCKING AND FEED LOT COORDINATION: ·        Jana Hance, Redwater Valley Bank: 406-485-4782, mobile 406-974-2555 Send details to Jana at jana@redwatervalleybank.com Call Jana and let her know what you have to donate OR what you need.

Read More

USDA opens more land for emergency haying and grazing

On July 20 Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is authorizing the use of additional Conservation Reserve Program lands for emergency grazing and haying in and around portions of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota affected by severe drought. USDA is adding the ability for farmers and ranchers in these areas to hay and graze CRP wetland and buffer practices. “We are working to immediately address the dire straits facing drought-stricken farmers and ranchers,” said Perdue. “USDA is fully considering and authorizing any federal programs or related provisions we have available to meet the immediate needs of impacted producers.” For CRP practices previously announced, including those authorized today, Secretary Perdue is allowing this emergency action during and after the primary nesting season, where local drought conditions warrant in parts of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota that

Read More

Miles City, FSA offices off the chopping block for now

Senate committees pass bills with language prohibiting closure of essential agricultural facilities The Miles City cattle research farm and county Farm Service Agency offices appear likely to stick around, with both winning language in budget bills for fiscal year 2018 that prohibit their closure. Language in the Senate’s FY2018 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill nixes closing both the Fort Keogh Range and Livestock Research Laboratory in Miles City and the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Idaho. The two centers were among 17 USDA-Agricultural Research Service centers listed for closure in President Donald Trump’s budget proposal. The bill rejects closing any of them.

Read More

Tester Secures Major Investments, Advances Montana Priorities in Critical Funding Bills

(U.S. Senate)—U.S. Senator Jon Tester, a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, advanced Montana priorities and secured major investments in two critical funding bills. Tester successfully included amendments to strengthen the ban on Brazilian beef imports and to force the nomination of a USDA Rural Development Undersecretary in the 2018 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.  Tester’s amendments will require USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to report to Congress on specific provisions regarding the Brazilian beef ban and to restore the position of USDA Rural Development Undersecretary, which Perdue has attempted to eliminate. “During times of drought and market uncertainty, it is critical that Montana family farmers and ranchers have the resources they need to protect their bottom line,” Tester said.  “This important bill invests in agriculture research, protects critical FSA jobs, improves water infrastructure, and ensures rural America h

Drought Relief Discount Announced by SweetPro & Agri-Best Feeds

SweetPro and Agri-Best Feeds have instituted a Drought Relief Discount of $80/ton on qualifying SweetPro orders delivered to ranches affected by the D2-D4 drought according to the U.S Drought Monitor – www.droughtmonitor.unl.edu .  The Drought Relief Discount is effective immediately and will continue on qualifying orders through the month of August. SweetPro is a complete supplement that not only fills in the gaps where the grass is lacking; it also helps cattle break their forage down better, resulting in cattle performing better on LESS grass.  SweetPro’s nutritionist, Abe Scheaffer Ph. D., states, “The digestible fiber in SweetPro helps extend the use of a pasture, whereas the sugars in molasses or starches in grain increase forage consumption.  We know that our customers are hurting, and we need to do what we can to keep them in business,” concluded Scheaffer. For more information and qualifications of the Drought Relief

Read More

Montana Producers Have until Aug. 1 to Enroll in ARC/PLC

From the Prairie Star: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Montana Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting State Executive Director (SED) Amy Webbink reminds farmers and ranchers that they have until Aug. 1 to enroll in Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and/or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2017 crop year. These programs trigger financial protections for participating agricultural producers when market forces cause substantial drops in crop prices or revenues.   “Producers have already elected ARC or PLC, but to receive program benefits they must enroll for the 2017 crop year by signing a contract before the Aug. 1 deadline,” Webbink said. “Please contact your local FSA office to schedule an appointment if you have not yet enrolled.”   Covered commodities under the programs include barley

Read More

Momentum Continues for Red Meat Exports

U.S. pork and beef exports posted a strong May performance, increasing significantly from the previous month and from year-ago levels, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports reached 222,015 metric tons (mt) in May, up 11 percent year-over-year and the fourth-largest monthly volume on record. Pork export value was $583.2 million, up 16 percent. For January through May, exports increased 14 percent from a year ago in volume (1.05 million mt, a record pace) and 18 percent in value ($2.68 billion). Even with the growth in U.S. pork production, exports account for a larger share in 2017. May exports equated to 29.4 percent of total production and just under 25 percent for muscle cuts only – up from 28.4 percent and 24.3 percent, respectively, last year. Through the first five months of 2017, exports accounted for 27.9 percent of total production and 23.2 percent for muscle cuts (up from 25.2 percent and 21.3 perce

Read More

Be Aware of the Montana Pesticide Disposal Program and 2017 Disposal Sites

by Cecil Tharp, MSU Pesticide Education Specialist Delaying removal of unused pesticide products often leads to corroded containers that pose unnecessary risks towards the environmental and human health. Pesticide applicators should be aware of the resources available for discarding pesticide waste. By following a few simple steps applicators can ensure that unused pesticides are discarded and disposed of legally and safely. Disposing of Pesticide Waste Applicators should use the Montana pesticide waste disposal program if they have unknown pesticide products (due to worn product label), unregistered pesticide products or unusable pesticides that are in need of disposal. The Montana pesticide waste disposal program began in 1

Read More

U.S. Cattle Industry Leaders Establish Direction for Policy, Checkoff Programs

More than 700 at Summer Business Meeting in Denver, Colo. DENVER, Colo. (July 13, 2017) – More than 700 cattle industry leaders are gathering at the Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting in Denver this week to help create direction for industry programs. The meeting runs July 13-15. The event includes sessions of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American National CattleWomen and National Cattlemen’s Foundation. Among the purposes of the yearly conference is to create a framework for checkoff and policy efforts on behalf of U.S. cattle producers for the 2018 fiscal year, which for NCBA and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board begins Oct. 1. Keynote speaker at Thursday’s Opening General Session is Eric Baumgartner, executive vice president of VML, a global marketing ad agency. Baumgartner will provide insight into the advent of technologies that are changing how consumers purchase almost everything they buy, from hamburgers to vacations. General

Read More

Consider filing for “Exempt” Water Rights

- by Krista Lee Evans Water rights are a property right critical to agricultural production, that water users need to protect. In the early 1980’s, at the beginning of the adjudication process, the Montana Supreme Court issued an order that all water users who wanted to claim a right to use water that was put to use before 1973 had to file a claim with the Montana Department of Natural Resources (DNRC).   The Court did, however, provide two exceptions to this requirement - instream stock use and domestic use - that was used prior to 1973.  These are the “Exempt From Filing” Water Rights that we now have the chance to address. This year’s passage of HB 110 provided a means to protect these property rights by clarifying the opportunity to file a claim for any “exempt” instream stock or domestic rights that were put to use prior to 1973, and that have not been claimed in the adjudication process. It is important that we recognize the significant opportunity that this

USDA Designates Eight Counties in North Dakota as Primary Natural Disaster Areas with Assistance to Producers in Surrounding States

In response to a request from Brian Haugen, Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) acting State Executive Director in North Dakota, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Dunn, Emmons, Grant, Logan, McIntosh, McKenzie, Mountrail and Sioux counties in North Dakota as primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by a recent drought. Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Montana qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are: Montana Richland, Roosevelt and Wibaux All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on July 6, 2017, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for FSA’s emergency (EM) loans, provided eligibility requirements are

Read More

Costly Closings: USDA ARS proposed lab closures affect producers nationwide

By SUE ROESLER, The Prairie Star USDA-ARS (Agricultural Research Service) center closures affect not only the producers in the state they are located in, but also farmers throughout the nation lose out on the benefits of national collaborative ag research. Seventeen USDA-ARS research centers/labs may be closed under the administration’s 2018 final budget proposal delivered to Congress in June. Of those 17, four ARS labs are part of this upper northern region, including centers in Dubois, Idaho; Miles City, Mont.; Morris, Minn.; and Brookings, S.D. The USDA-ARS Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Lab in Miles City, Mont., mirrors what producers do in the real world – raise cattle on native prairie and improved grasses on pastures and rangeland – and it has been conducting research there since the 1930s. “Fort

Read More

Northern Plains Drought Worsens, USDA Responds with Expanded Emergency Federal Program Measures on Conservation Reserve Program Acres

As conditions deteriorate and drought expands across much of the Northern Plains, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering assistance to farmers and ranchers through numerous federal farm program provisions and continues to monitor the situation to ensure all viable program flexibilities are offered to producers.  Today, USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) acting State Executive Director in South Dakota, acting SED Jamie White, announced that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has authorized emergency haying on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands beginning July 16 through Aug. 30, 2017 for counties in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota designated as D2 or greater on the U.S. Drought Monitor.  Similar to the authorization for Emergency Grazing announced last month, this authorization includes any county with any part of its border located within 150 miles of a county eligible for emergency haying of CRP based on the U.S. drought monitor. Increased demand for hay h

Read More

Senate Agriculture Committee Confirms Giancarlo as Chair of CFTC

The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry voted overwhelmingly on June 29, 2017 to confirm the nomination of J. Christopher Giancarlo as Chairman for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He has served as Acting Chairman since January. This paves the way for his nomination to move forward to consideration on the Senate floor. “I am humbled by the bipartisan support in the Senate Agriculture Committee for my nomination as Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and I look forward to consideration by the full Senate. During my time as a Commissioner, I have witnessed firsthand the enduring commitment of Chairman Roberts, Ranking Member Stabenow and members of the Committee to our common purpose of serving the American people and the agricultural producers upon which we all rely. I am confident that with their support, if confirmed by the Senate, we can fulfill the CFTC’s mission to foster open, transparent, competitive and financially sou

Read More

Selective Culling and Early Weaning in Drought

From the Cow Sense Chronicle by Rachel Endecott - Beef Cattle Specialist While forage and pasture conditions are in good shape on the western side of our state, the eastern half is suffering from a worsening drought. Reducing forage demand is an important part of a drought plan and selective culling and early weaning are two strategies that can achieve that goal. The first level of selective culling is to remove cows with obvious production issues, such as age, bad teeth, feet, or udders, as well as open cows or cows with poor quality calves. The second level of culling is where things get more difficult. There are a couple of approaches to consider, and I suspect most producers would use a combination of them. The first approach is to identify cattle with the most value per unit of forage cons

Read More

Montana based Agri-Best Feeds joins Arrowquip dealer network

Arrowquip is thrilled to introduce the newest member of the Arrowquip Family, Agri-Best Feeds of Billings, MT. As one of the largest dealers in Arrowquip’s growing dealer network, Agri-Best Feeds are bringing their knowledge and expertise of the livestock industry to ranchers in an all new way – by providing them with innovative cattle handling solutions designed to benefit the rancher and the ranch. Of their newest Authorized Dealer, Arrowquip President Andrew Firth said, “Their success in the livestock feed industry has been substantial, and we are confident that their success will carry over to cattle handling solutions as well. We couldn’t be happier to have Agri-Best Feeds on board”. Agri-Best Feeds was founded in 2006, and the family formed a corporation in 2007. To this day, Agri-Best Feeds remains a family-owned company, and in 2010 they were awarded “Montana Family Business of the Year”. Their expansion over the last eleven years has been rapid, and their reach ha

Read More

USDA Authorizes Additional Flexibilities for Producers in Northern Great Plains

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2017 – On June 23 Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue authorized emergency grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres during the primary nesting season in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana in the counties meeting D2 or greater, as indicated by the US Drought Monitor. Since that time the drought has continued to deepen and the forecast is for hot, dry weather in the upcoming week in the northern plains.  As such, the Secretary is authorizing emergency grazing of CRP for any county in which any part of its border lies within 150 miles of a county approved for emergency grazing of CRP. In addition, for any county in which any part of its border lies within 150 miles of any county approved for emergency grazing of CRP, USDA will allow CRP contract holders who hay their acreage according to their mid-management conservation plan to donate their hay to livestock producers. CRP contract holders still have the ability to sell their hay with a 25-percent

Read More

Secretary Perdue to Travel to China to Mark Return of U.S. Beef

Events in Beijing and Shanghai on Friday and Saturday    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will travel to China this week, joining with U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, to formally mark the return of U.S. beef to the Chinese market after a 13-year hiatus.  In events in Beijing and Shanghai on Friday, June 30, 2017 and Saturday, July 1, 2017, Perdue will meet with Chinese government officials to celebrate the return of American beef products to the enormous market after shipments were halted at the end of 2003.  On Friday in Beijing, Perdue and Branstad will ceremonially cut prime rib that originated in Nebraska and was shipped by the Greater Omaha Packing Company. 

Read More

Tester Announces Assistance for Montana Counties Affected by Drought

Senator Secures Assistance for Farmers and Ranchers in Six Montana Counties   (U.S. Senate)– U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced that farmers and ranchers in six Montana counties would have access to drought assistance through U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster relief programs.   “Northeast Montana has been hammered by drought and I’m pleased this critical farm-saving relief is available to those who need it the most,” Tester said.  “I encourage all eligible Montana producers to contact their local FSA offices and apply for assistance.”   Farmers and ranchers affected by the drought are eligible to receive payments through the USDA’s Livestock Forage Disaster Program.  Payments are determined by the intensity and length of the drought for the impacted areas.   The Livestock Forage Disaster Program is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.  Assistance is available for producers in Gar

Read More

Injunction interrupts beef checkoff collection: Montana Beef Council will seek permission from payers

On May 2, 2016, a national organization, Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA), filed a complaint in the District Court for the District of Montana Great Falls Division, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, against Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). R-CALF alleges that the current administration of the federal Beef Checkoff Program in Montana violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution by allowing Montana Beef Council (MBC) to use a portion of cattle producers' assessments paid to the federal beef checkoff to fund promotional campaigns by the MBC, without first obtaining permission in advance from those producers. The Montana Beef Council is not a party in the lawsuit. On June 21, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris granted R-CALF a preliminary injunction enjoining USDA from continuin

Read More

USDA Authorizes Emergency Grazing in Drought-Stricken Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota

  WASHINGTON, June 23, 2017 – Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today authorized emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.  All or parts of these states are experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions – indicated as categories D2 and D3 on the U.S. Drought Monitor. “Due to reduced availability of forage, ranchers in the hardest hit locations have already been culling their herds,” said Perdue. “Without alternative forage options like grazing CRP lands, livestock producers are faced with the economically devastating potential of herd liquidation.” CRP is a voluntary program administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) available to agricultural producers to help them safeguard environmentally sensitive land and, when needed, provide emergency relief to livestock producers suffering the impacts of certain natural disasters. Emergency grazing is authori

At Tester’s Urging, USDA Halts Importation of Brazilian Beef

Montana Producers Praise Tester for Protecting Consumers from Tainted Meat   (U.S. Senate)– Following Senator Tester’s repeated calls for a ban, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a suspension of all imports of Brazilian beef until safety concerns are addressed.   “I’m glad to see USDA has listened to our multiple demands to protect American consumers and producers across Montana,” Tester said. “This is a major win for Montana ranchers and American families. Montanans raise the best beef in the world and the government shouldn’t be undercutting them by importing unsafe, even rotten products from foreign countries.”    Tester has repeatedly called on USDA to halt importation of beef from Brazil, going so far as to introduce legislation to ban Brazilian beef for 120 days until safety concerns could be addressed.

Read More

MSGA Applauds News of USDA Halting Import of Fresh Brazilian Beef

Contact:  Kori Anderson 406.442.3420/406.214.5680 kori@mtbeef.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   MSGA Applauds News of USDA Halting Import of Fresh Brazilian Beef The Montana Stockgrowers Association applauds the announcement by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today, to suspend all imports of fresh beef from Brazil due to safety concerns.   “We applaud the decision by USDA to put a ban on the import of Brazilian beef. International trade is an important aspect of our industry, but the safety of our nation’s food supply is imperative to both ranchers and consumers, said Errol Rice Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “We would like to thank Senator Jon Tester for taking the lead on this issue; as well as Secretary Sonny Perdue for taking swift action to initiate the ban.”   The USDA release can be found

Read More

MSGA Comments on Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Delisting

Contact:  Kori Anderson 406.442.3420/406.214.5680 kori@mtbeef.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MSGA Applauds News of Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Delisting HELENA (June 22, 2017) - Today, the Montana Stockgrowers Association released the following statement in response to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's announcement that the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear is being delisted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA): "The Montana Stockgrowers Association applauds the action taken by Secretary Zinke and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear,” noted Errol Rice Executive Vice President for the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “This has been a priority of the association for years and this is a critical first step for the State of Montana to regain management of the bear population.”   ### The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a

Read More

Amid Tainted Beef Scandal, Tester Renews Call for Brazilian Beef Ban

Following the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s removal of five Brazilian meat packing plants from its approved exporter list due to safety concerns, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is once again calling on Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to ban imports of Brazilian meat until safety concerns can be adequately addressed.  “Our ranchers raise the best beef and pork products in the world,” Tester wrote.  “They adhere to extremely high safety standards and make extraordinary efforts to provide consumers with desirable and safe products.  I believe it is unwise to risk the public’s trust in domestic meat products by potentially allowing harmful imports to make it into our marketplace.”  The Brazilian beef market was rocked by scandal in March as news reports confirmed that Brazilian meat packers were using a cancer-causing acid in their meat.  This led to several nations temporarily halting

Read More

Montana Cattlewomen Award Scholarship for 55th Year

Third generation Kirby rancher selected as recipient of $1,000 scholarship The 2017 Montana Cattlewomen’s Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Peter Taylor, who has completed his first year at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law, University of Montana.  Peter is a third generation participant in his family’s ranching business near Kirby, MT. Peter was one of five highly qualified applicants for the scholarship. Peter earned his B.A. degree in Geology and Governmental Studies at Bowdoin College, graduating in 2000.  He returned to the ranch and has actively served on the Montana Farm Bureau Federation Board for several years.  It is that position which opened his eyes to the breadth of litigation facing farming and ranching in Montana and also renewed in him a desire to attend law school and take a

Read More

MSGA applauds news of U.S. Beef heading to China

The Montana Stockgrowers Association issued the following statement regarding the announcement that an agreement has been reached to begin shipping U.S. beef to China: “Montana ranchers have been waiting for this day for thirteen years,” said Montana Stockgrowers Association Executive Vice President, Errol Rice. “Restored access to China’s 1.3 billion consumers will create an immense market potential for Montana ranchers." The Montana Stockgrowers Association is still evaluating the technical aspects of the agreement. Included below are USDA's specific requirements for exports to China: Beef and beef products must be derived from cattle that were born, raised, and slaughtered in the U.S., cattle that were imported from Canada or Mexico and subsequently raised and slaughtered in the U.S., or cattle that were imported from Canada or Mexico for direct slaughter; Cattle must be traceable to the U.S. birth farm using a unique identifier, or if imported to the

Read More

MSU College of Ag seeks nominations for outstanding agricultural leader

The Montana State University College of Agriculture is seeking nominations for its outstanding agricultural leader award to honor during its 2017 Celebrate Agriculture event, set for Nov. 3-4 on the MSU campus. The annual award honors those who have exhibited abundant leadership in Montana public service as an agricultural producer, industry advocate, agribusiness leader or as a friend of agriculture. The award is part of the college’s annual Celebrate Agriculture event, and awardees will be celebrated during the college’s Harvest Breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 4. The award represents the important relationship between the land-grant mission and the agricultural community, according to MSU Vice President of Agriculture Charles Boyer. “This award has a long and special history in the College of Agriculture, because it highlights the good work done by people who represent agricultural leadership in Montana

Read More

Fallon Creek Cattlewomen to host “Urban Meets Rural” tour

The Fallon Creek Cattlewomen invite their urban friends and neighbors to a day in the country full of ranch tours, activities and a beef barbecue on Saturday, July 8.   “Urban Meets Rural Day” is offered at no charge to those interested in learning more about how ranchers raise healthy, sustainable beef and care for the land. A ranch tour will be followed by a picnic in the open, pasture golf, horseshoes, roping lessons for the little ones, a silent auction, and more fun, games, and prize for all ages. Wrapping up the day will be a beef barbecue with chefs from Miles City’s Rib and Chop House on site to fry steaks and serve a specially prepared full-course meal. Registration is available at First Interstate Bank and Stockman Bank in Miles City, and also through Eventbrite.com. Attendees are asked to register by June 26. Departure for the tour is at 10 a.m. from the First Interstate Bank parking lot on Haynes Ave. in Miles City, and at 10:30 a.m. from the Bank of Baker par

Read More

Cattle industry urges against mandatory ID

From Tri-State Livestock News: Cattle producers, veterinarians, sale barn operators and others involved in the cattle industry encouraged the federal government not to implement any kind of mandatory individual identification for feeder cattle 18 months of age and younger. That was the message that Wayne Gerbig, Amidon, North Dakota, rancher heard at the Billings, Montana, U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service hearing May 24. The North Dakota Stockmen's Association board member said that the two most important and most common messages shared during the public hearing were: 1 – USDA was encouraged to not pursue a mandatory identification program for breeding cattle or feeder cattle 2 – hot branding

Read More

Snowmelt Causes Rivers and Streams to Rise across Montana, More to Come

Rivers and streams are running high across the state of Montana from May snowmelt, and most have been above average for daily streamflows throughout the month. Data from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service showed that snowpack at high elevations in most basins peaked during the first week of May, but saw a rapid transition to melt shortly afterwards. “The high pressure which dominated the weather patterns this month brought abundant sunshine, mostly dry conditions, and above average temperatures—the perfect combination for snowmelt,” said Lucas Zukiewicz, NRCS water supply specialist. Some snow did fall in the high country over the month, adding to snowpack totals. SNOTEL (SNOwpack TELemetry) sites along and east of the Divide were treated to up to 31 inches of snow on May 18, providing one last day of powder skiing for those that were motivated to hike for it, Zukiewicz said. More importantly, he said this storm also helped to slow the snowmelt which was occurring a

Read More

Time to Survey for Alfalfa Weevil

Written by Kevin Wanner and Emily Glunk Alfalfa weevil is the key insect pest of alfalfa, causing variable levels of economic damage across Montana each growing season. After mating the female weevils lay their eggs in alfalfa stems, and newly emerged larvae crawl up to the developing terminal buds where they chew small “pin” holes in the leaves. The larvae develop through four instar stages (Figure 1); the larger 3rd and 4th instar larvae feed openly on unfurled leaves and cause the largest economic loss. Severe feeding damage will give the field a “frosted” appearance. Mature larvae develop into the next generation of adults that leave the alfalfa field to find overwintering sites. In Montana there is one generation per year. The majority of crop damage occurs prior to the first cutting as a result of feeding by l

Read More

MSU alum Norm Asbjornson donates $2 million to MSU’s Montana Plant Sciences Chair

BOZEMAN – Montana State University and the MSU Alumni Foundation announced today that longtime university supporter Norm Asbjornson has given $2 million in support of the Montana Plant Sciences Chair, the first endowed chair in the MSU College of Agriculture. The chair will formally be named the Winifred Asbjornson Plant Sciences Chair in honor of Asbjornson’s hometown of Winifred, where he grew up during the Depression. Asbjornson’s gift brings the university to within $200,000 of its $5 million goal for the endowment. The gift also marks the beginning of the fourth year of the endowment’s five-year fundraising plan. MSU plans to meet the remaining $200,000 through private development, according to Kevin Brown, senior director of development with the MSU Alumni Foundation. The Montana Plant Sciences Chair was conc

Read More

MSGA participates in Farm Bill Listening Tour

from Roundup web by Jordan Hall About twenty people gathered at the Ullman Center at Dawson Community College at ten o'clock Friday, May 26, to take part in Senator Jon Tester's Farm Bill Listening Tour. Beginning with the pledge of allegiance led by Tester, the session was led by the Senator and seven other panelists from various public and private agricultural agencies in Montana. Taking part in the session were Ben Thomas of the MontanaDepartment of Agriculture, Kurt Voss and Justin Loch of MontanaFarmer's Union, Scott Flynn of the American sugar beet Grower's Association, Steve Pust of the Montana-Dakota Beef Grower's Ass

Read More

USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Support the Development of Rural Community Facilities

From USDA: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that USDA is seeking applications for technical assistance and training grants in the Community Facilities program. “Too often, rural community organizations lack the technical expertise they need to access federal dollars,” Perdue said. “These technical assistance and training grants will help rural organizations overcome hurdles that prevent them from fully utilizing the Community Facilities Program. Increased access to federal funding will help build essential community facilities, and will allow rural areas to thrive.” The grants are being provided through the

Read More

Carbon Conservation District to Host Montana Range Days

The Carbon Conservation District, along with the local and state Montana Range Days planning committee, is hosting the annual Montana Range Days event at the Fairgrounds in Red Lodge, Mont., June 19-21, 2017.   Montana Range Days began in 1976 in Jordan, Mont., and has continued throughout the years to provide an educational format to youth ages 4-19, as well as adults of all ages, to have an on-the-ground, hands-on learning experience.  Rangeland professionals and landowners alike learn new and innovative ways of managing natural resources in Montana. Rangeland is the largest of those natural resources with rangelands, grazable pasture and forestlands covering 70 percent of the state.   “We are excited to have this opportunity to educate youth and others about Montana’s rangelands and all our natural resources and to showcase the Red Lodge area,” said Scott Blain, chairman for the local planning committee.   Estimating an average of 300 participants ea

Read More

Bull Breeding Soundness Exams

By Megan Van Emon Montana State University Extension Beef Cattle Specialist   One of the most cost efficient methods of a successful breeding program is the breeding soundness exam (BSE) conducted on bulls.  Bulls are responsible for breeding 20 to 50 cows each breeding season while cows are responsible for one calf each year.  Having a BSE conducted on the bulls is crucial to a successful breeding program. The BSE is an exam conducted by veterinarians that includes a physical exam, semen evaluation, and an internal and external exam of the reproductive tract.  Evaluating the feet, legs, teeth, eyes, flesh cover, and scrotal circumference and shape is included in the physical exam.  The semen evaluation includes semen normality and motility.  The BSE should be conducted 30 to 60 days prior to the beginning of breeding.  It is important to note that the bull’s sperm production cycle is approximately 60 days, and if illness, injury or other issue occurs, th

Read More

USDA Certifies Another Rural Business Investment Fund

Fund to Help Capitalize Small Rural Businesses WASHINGTON, May 18, 2017 – Acting Deputy Under Secretary Roger Glendenning today announced that USDA has certified the Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV LP as an investment pool for small and startup rural businesses. “This certification is another tool USDA provides to help rural businesses, to create jobs and to attract private-sector capital to rural communities,” Glendenning said. “Geography should not be a barrier to economic success. This pool will offer rural business owners the same access to capital as thei

Read More

Why Should I Keep Records on My Cowherd?

written by John Paterson, PhD Emeritus Professor at Montana State University   When I was visiting about record keeping programs recently, a rancher was overheard to say “I don't see much use in collecting time consuming individual records for commercial cow herds. Pregnancy testing and my eyeball can let me know all I need to determine if a cow stays for another year.”  Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but with increasing demands continually being placed on ranchers to ensure sustainability, records are a necessary part of a ranch business. Records provide benchmarks so that we can determine strengths and weaknesses of our ranch operations and how we demonstrate continuous improvement.  How records are kept varies from the very rudimentary to the very complex.  When asked several ranchers how they kept their records the answers varied: from “On the scale house wall”; “On the back of my Copenhagen can”; “In my IRM Red Book”; “On an Ex

Read More

Chairman of CFTC to Headline Stockgrowers’ Midyear Meeting

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) has confirmed J. Christopher Giancarlo, acting Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Midyear Meeting held in Great Falls, May 30 – June 1. “We are excited to have someone as knowledgeable and respected as Chairman Giancarlo joining us for Midyear,” noted MSGA President Bryan Mussard of Dillon, MT. “We look forward to the insight he will share with our members surrounding the recent cattle market volatility and his outlook on the futures market.” The Midyear Meeting is one of two meetings that is held during the year to set association policy. This year’s meeting is held in conjunction with the Montana Ag Summit; hosted and co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Steve Daines. The summi

Read More

EPA Requests Comments on Extending the Timeline for Pesticide Applicator Rule

from Cecil Tharp (MSU Pesticide Education Specialist): Pesticide applicators should be aware of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pesticide certification and training rule finalized on December 12th, 2016 and published in the Federal Register on January 4. 2017. The implementation of the final rule was extended to May 22nd, 2017; however the EPA is now proposing to extend the implementation of the final rule another 12 months to allow states and stakeholders more time to prepare. EPA has a comment period that expires May 19th to consider extending the final rule another 12 months. Comments on this rule can be submitted to docket #EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0183 via: https://www.regulations.gov/ on or before May 19, 2017 after the Federal Register notice publishes.

Read More