MSGA News

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MSGA Video Update – April 16, 2010

Errol Rice, MSGA’s Executive Vice President, recaps this week’s events at the Montana Stockgrowers Association. This week, MSGA continued working on meaningful tax reform including work on the Estate Tax, which will jump up to 55% on most Montana ranches next year if Congress doesn’t act soon. This week, MSGA also joined the Montana Coalition to Prevent Double Taxation, a broad coalition of taxpayers, businesses and affordable housing groups to put forth a constitutional amendment (CI-105) to prohibit the state legislature from imposing a Real Estate Transfer Tax on property now or in the future. Also this week, MSGA President Tom Hougen sent a letter to the Montana Board of Regents expressing MSGA’s concern about Governor Schweitzer’s proposal to cut $1.2 million from the base budget of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Stations and $600,000 from the MSU Extension Service (Read more at our blog). MSGA was also in attendance at this week’s Interagency Bison Management Pla

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MSGA Concerned Over Proposed Slashing of Ag Research & Extension Budgets

The following letter was sent from MSGA President Tom Hougen today to the Montana Board of Regents regarding a proposal from the administration to cut ag research and extension budgets by over 10%. A meeting of the Board of Regents will be held in Helena tomorrow April 15th at 1:30 P.M. MSGA will be at this meeting. April 14, 2010Montana Board of RegentsOffice of Commissioner of Higher EducationMontana University System2500 Broadway StreetP.O. Box 203201Helena, MT 59620-3201Dear Montana Board of Regents Members,On behalf of the Montana Stockgrowers Association I am writing to you to express our concern with the governor’s base budget reduction plan of roughly $1.2 million for the Montana Agriculture Experiment Stations (MAES) and $600,000 for the Extension Service. This is a severely disproportionate reduction to our agriculture research agencies under the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.

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Proper livestock handling methods program to be presented in Miles City, April 21

Curt Pate will present his popular “Stockmanship and Stewardship” program at Miles City Livestock Commission, April 21, at 1 p.m. Market co-owner and manager Rob Fraser said that the livestock market setting will permit Pate to conduct “hands-on” demonstrations of effective, humane handling methods which reduce the stress on livestock and their handlers. Pate, who has been conducting similar programs for over 10 years, will also meet with the market’s employees. They will discuss the best handling methods to use from the time cattle are unloaded at the market until they’re loaded to leave.Fraser said that while “the vast majority of livestock producers and market employees use proper handling methods every day, there’s always room for improvement. This program will let anyone who comes in contact with livestock brush up on their handling techniques.”For more information about the Miles City event, contact Rob Fraser at (406) 234-1790. More information about Pate

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MSGA Video Update – April 9, 2010

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zfwsEP3JI0&hl=en_US&fs=1&]Errol gives a recap of this week's events at the Montana Stockgrowers Association. Errol discusses Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack's visit to Japan to discuss beef trade, the 2010 Montana Livestock Forum and Nutrition Conference held at Montana State University, the reprint of MSGA's book "The Weak Ones Turned Back, The Cowards Never Started: A Century of Ranching in Montana," and details about the planning of our Mid-Year meeting which will take place June 10-12 in Dillon.

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MSGA Video Update – April 1, 2010

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hf30t5k0GGA&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0]Errol Rice, MSGA's Executive Vice President, recaps this week's events at the Montana Stockgrowers Association. On Wednesday, March 31, 2010, the Montana Stockgrowers Association's Board of Directors met at Basin Angus Ranch in Hobson, Montana. The hot topic was the Designated Surveillance Area for brucellosis in Montana. Rice also addresses the values of the Montana Stockgrowers Association in this clip.

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Tom Hougen on MSGA’s March 31 Board of Directors meeting

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSbLLW5YTfQ&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0]Tom Hougen, MSGA's President, gives a recap of the March 31, 2010 Montana Stockgrowers Association's Board of Directors meeting in Hobson, Montana.

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MSGA President interviewed on NYC radio program about grasshoppers

MSGA's President, Tom Hougen, was interviewed early this morning on a New York City radio program "The Takeaway" about the potential for one of the worst grasshopper infestations in the West in many years. Click here to listen to the interview.

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Friday MSGA video update – March 26, 2010

In this week’s video update, Errol Rice, MSGA’s Executive Vice President, reports from Washington D.C. about the health care bill, the Public Lands Council conference, brucellosis, federal lands grazing, the Equal Access to Justice Act, wilderness and monument designations and trade.

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FWP looking for input on the future of wild bison in Montana

FWP - What is the future for wild bison in Montana? That’s the basic question at least one Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologist will wrestle with over the coming year. Arnold Dood, a 33-year FWP veteran, will crisscross the state to talk about bison with groups and communities.“We’ll talk about bison and whether or not it makes sense to have a wild, free-ranging population somewhere in Montana,” Dood said. “Where can wild bison exist and be managed like wild deer, elk, or antelope?”In addition to statewide presentations and discussions, FWP has created a way for others to offer opinions via an online survey. Results will help FWP design a scientific survey of randomly selected Montana households later this year.“There are wild bison in other places,” said Dave Risley, administrator of FWP’s fish and wildlife division in Helena. “Bison have strong rom

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MSGA and Montana Public Lands Council attend PLC Spring Legislative Conference in D.C.

MSGA and the Montana Public Lands Council were in Washington, D.C. early this week for the National Public Lands Council’s (PLC) 2010 Spring Legislative Conference. In attendance were Errol Rice and Jay Bodner from MSGA, along with George Trischman and Johnnie Schultz of the Montana Public Lands Council (MT PLC).On Monday morning, March 22, Dustin Van Liew, PLC’s new executive director, gave the conference attendees an issues briefing which included the sage grouse decision, Forest Service planning rule, Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) legislation and the Clean Water Act. Bob Abbey, Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), spoke to the group about the agency’s renewable energy program, wild horse and burro program, and media efforts to promote the benefits of grazing on federal lands. Dave White, Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), discussed the service’s new sage grouse initiative and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). T

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MSGA seeking summer communications intern

The Montana Stockgrowers Association is looking for a junior, senior, or graduate student in journalism, communications, public relations or a related field for a 12-week internship this summer. MSGA is looking for someone to assist us in creating multimedia projects featuring ranchers discussing important issues they face on their ranches. The internship will take place May 24-August 13, 2010 (dates are flexible).The primary duty will be to assist MSGA in creating multimedia projects that will be posted online to help educate the media, general public and legislators about the issues facing Montana’s family ranchers today. The intern will travel to ranches to interview ranchers on camera and will be required to prep interviewees, conduct the interview, shoot video, edit video and produce a one-minute clip to be uploaded on YouTube and shared on other social media sites. Multimedia efforts will be expected to include photographs and well-written articles that may be publish

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Today’s Friday Video Update – MSGA’s Week in Review with Errol Rice

Errol Rice, MSGA's executive vice president, talks about the Board of Livestock meeting, a letter to the Montana Attorney General about EPA's greenhouse gas rule, and next week's National Public Lands Council meeting in Washington, D.C., in this week's Friday Video Update.

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Highlights and notes from March Board of Livestock meeting

The Montana Board of Livestock (BOL) met March 15 & 16 in Helena. Two of the highlights of the meeting were a continuation of the discussion on a proposal for mandatory statewide official calfhood vaccination (OCV) for brucellosis, and a visit from Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock. In February, the Department of Livestock (DOL) held several information gathering sessions across the state on the proposed OCV rule, Dr. Zaluski, Montana State Veterinarian, told the board. The proposal would require OCV for all sexually intact female cattle and bison not destined for slaughter. (The proposal is available here.) He said it seems there is almost universal agreement from ranchers across the state that Montana needs to vaccinate its breeding herd, but there is no agreement as to how to go about it. Board member Stan Boone said that ranchers’ concerns at the Miles City meeting, which he attended, we

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MSGA asks MT AG to intervene in EPA GHG rule

The Montana Stockgrowers Association sent a letter to Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock today asking him to intervene independently or in support of current petitions challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recent greenhouse gas endangerment rule. The Montana Farm Bureau also joined MSGA in this request.Due to probable legal challenges, literally thousands of Montana family ranchers would be compelled to comply with a new layer of bureaucracy and expense if this rule is enacted. The EPA says that it does not want to burden family ranchers but we fear that the rule in which they have authored to supposedly protect ranchers will not stand up to legal scrutiny. MSGA is concerned that by proceeding with these rules as they stand, the EPA is willfully exposing agriculture to new and costly requirements.MSGA will continue to follow this important issue, which supports our mission “To protect and enhance the ability of Montana ranch families to grow

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MSGA offers two great scholarships to MSGA member students

This spring, MSGA is offering two great scholarships for MSGA member students.For graduating high school seniors we have the Swede Schlesinger Scholarship worth $2,500. To be eligible for this scholarship students must be graduating from a Montana high school this year, be a member of MSGA, or have at least one parent who is a member, and demonstrate a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. Applicants must complete the application form, include a copy of their current high school transcript, include three sealed letters of recommendation, and answer a series of essay questions. For the full details, click on the link above! Applications are due March 31.For current college students, we have the MSGA Educational Heritage Scholarship worth $1,000. To be eligible, students must be currently enrolled in college and have complet

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MSGA President attends breakfast meeting with Ag Secretary Vilsack

On Saturday morning, March 6, MSGA President, Tom Hougen, along with leaders from other Montana agriculture groups and agencies met with Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. Hougen had an opportunity to speak briefly and also presented a letter to the Secretary.Hougen emphasized the need for more cooperation between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Interior to address brucellosis in the wildlife in and around Yellowstone National Park.“I just stressed that Montana ranchers have done everything they can do to keep brucellosis out of their herds, now we need to get it out of wildlife,” Hougen said after the meeting.

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Animal Welfare & MT Livestock Nutrition Conference

MSGA is very excited to sponsor this year's Montana Livestock and Nutrition Conference on April 6th and 7th. The focus will be on animal welfare. In my travels, animal welfare is the biggest question I get from people around the country who are not involved in ranching. MSGA is working hard to bring meaningful messaging to this topic for our ranchers. The following comments by Dave Daley who is an Associate Dean at Chico State provides some interesting approaches to dealing with this issue. How to lose the argument on animal welfare…Top 10 reasonsD. A. Daley, PhD – CSU, Chico 1.Assuming science will give us all the answers; it only gives us some of the answers. I believe strongly in science but science doesn’t solve ethical questions. Also, the public does not trust scientists and assumes they can be bought! Watch the news and it is easy to find “scientists” on both sides of almost every issue. It has become a contest of “my science is bet

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Livestock, nutrition conference to “reclaim high ground” for ag

MSU News Service - This year's Montana Livestock Forum and Nutrition Conference will address misinformation, innuendo and anti-meat agendas that have plagued the agriculture industry in the past year, said organizer and Extension Beef Specialist John Paterson at Montana State University. The conference, titled "Challenge for Agriculture: Reclaiming the High Ground," will be held April 6 and 7 in the ballrooms of the Strand Union Building on the MSU campus. That is a change in location from previous years. "It is no secret that animal agriculture has been under attack by organizations that want to change the way that livestock producers raise and care for animals," Paterson said. "... We must become better informed." Speakers will discuss a variety of topics, including "Taking Back Agriculture for the Beef Industry" and "The Science and

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MSGA nominates Malta-area Ranchers Stewardship Alliance for Environmental Stewardship Award

Helena, Mont. - The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) recently nominated the Ranchers Stewardship Alliance (RSA) in Malta, Mont. for the 2010 regional and national Environmental Stewardship Award, sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. This annual award recognizes the outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements of cattle ranchers across the nation. Award winners have been commended for their commitment to protecting the environment and improving fish and wildlife habitats while operating profitable cattle ranches.“We are ve

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Board of Livestock to meet March 15-16

DOL - The Montana Board of Livestock will meet March 15-16 in the Scott Hart Auditorium (Department of Agriculture/Department of Livestock building, 301 N. Roberts) in Helena. Agenda items include a joint meeting between the board and Board of Milk Control, reports from Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) division administrators, updates on the department's budget and special revenue projections, and a report from Attorney General Steve Bullock on a new consumer protection position relating to agriculture.For a complete board meeting agenda click here.

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MSGA responds to sage grouse decision

Helena, Mont. - Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the greater sage grouse a “warranted but precluded” species in regards to the Endangered Species Act. The sage grouse will be placed on the “candidate species” list which means the status of the sage grouse will be reviewed each year.“We have a healthy sage grouse population in Montana,” said Jay Bodner, Natural Resource Director for the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “One of the reasons for this is the well-managed grazing and conservation efforts of Montana’s family ranchers on both private and federal land.”Vicki Olson, a director of the Montana Public Lands Council, listed many specific efforts undertaken by Montana ranching families to protect sage grouse, include monitoring of rangeland conditions and sage grouse populations, grazing management plans, fence flagging, water trough escape ramps and water development.“Many ranchers that graze in sage grouse habitat inclu

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Past MSGA Director, Leo Barthelmess wins Montana Neighbor Award

Today, Leo Barthelmess, Jr. was announced as one of four 2010 Montana Neighbor Award Recipients for displaying “the traditional neighborly spirit that helped make Montana what it is.”Barthelmess hails from a multi-generation ranching family, and is widely recognized for his long-time commitment to the ranching community and quality range management. Barthelmess, a recent member of the Montana Stockgrowers Association board of directors and a leader of the Ranchers Stewardship Alliance (RSA), has pioneered collaborative conservation solutions involving ranching, development, conservation groups and resource agencies. RSA and conservation organizations recently received funding to improve wildlife h

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Brand Owners Reminded to Update Addresses

DOL - Every 10 years, the Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) rerecords brands. With more than 55,000 active brands in the Big Sky, it's a big job. It's also an important job, as brands are a return address for your livestock – brands help prevent loss and theft of livestock, assist with the movement of livestock through markets channels, and are used to identify livestock in animal health emergencies."Brands are a big part of the state’s history," said MDOL Brands Division administrator John Grainger. "It’s something people take seriously, and there’s some colorful history about rustlers who tried to beat the system and found the business end of a rope. It’s a system that’s worked well for 150 years, and it still works well today."

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MSU College of Ag announces visits of candidates for head of Dept. of Animal and Range Sciences

MSU - The Montana State University College of Agriculture is pleased to announce the campus interview visits of two candidates for the Department Head position for the Department of Animal and Range Sciences. Information about the candidates and their interview schedules can be found here. Each candidate will be giving a research seminar and an administrative philosophy seminar. We have also arranged time for the candidates to interact with members of the Montana animal and range community who have an interest in the department and this position. These times are listed below and flyers for each seminar are attached. Dr. Charles Weems, University of HawaiiAdministrative Philosophy Seminar: Thursday February 18 at 4 p.m. in the Byker Auditorium, Chemistry BuildingAg Community Social: Thursday February 18 at 5:30 in the Aspen Room, GranTree InnResearch Seminar: Friday February 19 at 10

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DOL to host meetings on Official Calfhood Vaccination

DOL - The Montana Department of Livestock will host a series of meetings to talk with livestock producers about its preliminary proposal on statewide Official Calfhood Vaccination (OCV) for brucellosis, and will additionally solicit comment via an informal public participation process.The proposal would, in short, require OCV for all sexually intact female cattle and bison not destined for slaughter. A copy of the proposal will be available at the meetings, and has also been posted on the department's web site at http://liv.mt.gov/.Currently, the state does not require cattle to be vaccinated against brucellosis except for the four counties (Beaverhead, Gallatin, Madison and Park counties) in the newly created brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area (DSA). A key issue is that buyers of Montana cattle could perceive that the state is doing less than neighboring states – Wyoming and Idaho both have statewide OCV requirements –

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Improving Rural Vet Service Survey

If you are a rancher in Montana, please take a moment to fill out this survey and forward your answers to Jim Knight, jknight@montana.edu, Associate Director of Extension at MSU. Jim is working with the Montana Veterinary Association to submit a proposal for a USDA program that pays off student loans for veterinarians who agree to practice in underserved rural areas. Please forward this on to others so we can provide Jim with a good data set for his proposal.1. What county are you in?2. How many miles is it from your ranch/farm to the nearest D.V.M. practice?3. In the event THAT D.V.M. is not available, how many miles is it to the next D.V.M.?4. For routine regulatory or non-emergency DVM service, how long do you wait: a. Same day _______ b. 1-3 days ________ c. More than 3 days ______

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Young Cattlemen’s Conference tour details announced; Applications due Feb. 15

This year, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) will hold its 31st Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC) for a limited number of young industry leaders, June 2-11, 2010. This year’s tour is sponsored by Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., Five Rivers Cattle Feeding and John Deere. MSGA’s Research, Education and Endowment Foundation (REEF) will nominate one person between the ages of 25 and 50 from Montana to attend the conference. REEF will pay the full cost of the program and provide $500 for travel costs.

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MSGA addresses brucellosis, EAJA, and NCBA structural change at 2010 Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio

Last week, MSGA officers, members and staff attended the 2010 Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio. Altogether, more than 6,000 people attended the convention. The MSGA delegation accomplished a lot at the meeting including further discussing the brucellosis issue with a top APHIS official, contributing to two major policies for NCBA, supporting the NCBA structural change recommendations, and seeing MSGA Past-President Bill Donald become NCBA President-Elect. (Bill is in the left of the picture with Tucker Hughes, MSGA 2nd VP, and Tom Hougen, MSGA President, to his right. MSGA 1st VP, Watty Taylor was also in attendance.)MSGA discussed some of our members’ concerns about APHIS’s concept paper for revamping the National Brucellos

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Grazinglands reduce greenhouse gases

Rangeland Ecology & Management—A green pasture with grazing animals offers an idyllic image of our natural environment. With the current focus on climate change, such a pasture has much more to offer than image. Through effective policy implementation, grazinglands can reduce greenhouse gases through carbon sequestration and emissions reductions offset credits.Carbon sequestration is the long-term storage of carbon in the ground or oceans, slowing the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere enters the soil of grazinglands through the natural process of photosynthesis by green plants. The subsequent cycling turns some of that carbon into soil organic carbon—and into an environmental, societal and economic benefit for every country with these grazinglands.“Offset credits are a viable, important cost-containment mechanism for cap-and-trade approaches to mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reductions programs,” accor

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Lewis & Clark Conservation District to host riparian area best management practices listening session

The Lewis & Clark Conservation District, in conjunction with the Montana Association of Conservation Districts and UM-Helena College of Technology, will host a listening session to gather information on riparian area best management practices Tuesday, Jan. 26 from 5-7 p.m. at the Main Lecture Hall at UM-Helena College of Technology, 1115 North Roberts, Helena . If you have experiences or ideas for Best Management Practices in riparian areas alongside Montana’s rivers and streams, bring your stories, pictures, and experiences to help LCCD compile a “Best of the Best” resource document. This document will help urban and suburban landowners, agriculture, local governments, builders, transportation managers, recreationists, etc. work to protect riparian areas. If you are unable to attend, but have experiences to share, please contact Mary Ellen Wolfe, CIVIL DIALOGUE, 420 W. Curtiss, Bozeman, MT 59715 or call (406) 209-6545. For more information, contact Chris Evans at (406) 449-5000,

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MSGA member, Gene Surber, honored with Range Leader award

DNRC - The Governor’s Rangeland Resources Executive Committee (RREC) announced today that ranchers Bob and Debbie Gibbs of Jordan and private consultant Gene Surber of Belgrade have been chosen as recipients of the 2009 Range Leader of the Year awards.“The Gibbses and Gene Surber are genuine leaders in the field of range management,” said Heidi Olbert, Rangeland Resources Program Specialist with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. “Their commitment to education and the principles of stewardship represents the best of Montana agriculture.”Olbert said the Gibbs family’s two large pastures of native grassland were continuously grazed. After noticing a decline in range conditions, the couple decided it was time to consider new ways of managing their land.“They installed cross fences and implemented a rest-rotation grazing plan,” Olbert said. “As a result, they were able to give one pasture a full season of rest from gra

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New MSU President to appear on Montana ag programs

Montana State University's new President, Waded Cruzado, will be the featured guest on the Northern Ag Network’s “Voices of Montana” program with host Aaron Flint. The broadcast will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 27 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. This is a great opportunity to get to know President Cruzado and hear her vision for MSU. You can listen on one of the stations below or via the Northern Broadcasting System website at www.NorthernBroadcasting.com. The archived interview will also be available on this site.Cruzado will also be a guest on Montana Ag Live on Montana Public TV on May 23, 2010. The topic will be “MSU’s President Cruzado’s Views of the Land Grant Mission Relative to the College of Agriculture and Montana’s Agricultural Industries.”Voices of Montana AffiliatesBillings KBLG 910 AMButte KXTL 1370 AM

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Applications to attend the Young Cattlemen’s Conference due Feb. 15

This year, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) will hold its 30th Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC) for a limited number of young industry leaders, June 2-11, 2010.MSGA’s Research, Education and Endowment Foundation (REEF) will nominate one person between the ages of 25 and 50 to attend the conference. REEF will pay the full cost of the program and provide $500 for travel costs.The YCC program is considered to be the cornerstone of leadership training efforts within the cattle industry. The conference and tour’s primary objective is to develop leadership qualities in young cattlemen and expose them to all aspects of the beef industry. The tour helps young leaders understand all areas of our industry, ranging from industry structure to issues management, from production research to marketing.Last year’s tour began in Denver with a comprehensive overview of the industry. The group took an in-depth look at many of the issues affecting our

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MSU Extension and MSGA announce 2009 Steer of Merit certifications

Helena - Montana State University Extension and the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) distinguished 190 “Steers of Merit” out of over 950 entries for 2009. Out of 852 steers entered in the Carcass Division, 159 were deemed Steers of Merit. In the Ultrasound Division, 31 out of 104 entries received the distinction.The exhibitors and breeders of the top five steers in each category were honored at MSGA’s Annual Convention, Dec. 10-12 in Billings at MetraPark. The top five steer entries in the Carcass Division were: 1. Dakota Gaustad, Scobey; 2. Zane Loring, East Glacier; 3. Alysha Mack, Troy; 4. Taylor Fouts, Turner; and 5. Marisa Habel, Valier. The top five entries in the Ultrasound Division were: 1. Levi Mydland, Joliet; 2. Garrett Bromenshenk, Billings; 3. Calvin Kading, Billings; 4. Kelsey Kraft, Billings; 5. Christopher Lanaghan, Laurel.The 190 Steer of Merit certifications for 2009 were an increase over the 168 certifications in 2008.

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Board of Livestock to meet Jan. 13 in Helena

DOL - The Montana Board of Livestock will meet January 13 from 1-5 p.m. in Room 172 of the State Capital Building in Helena.Agenda items, which are posted on the Montana Department of Livestock's web site at http://liv.mt.gov/public/board.asp, include consideration of a draft order establishing a Designated Surveillance Area to replace the department's expired brucellosis action plan; mandatory Official Calfhood Vaccination for brucellosis; an official order for bovine tuberculosis import testing requirements; and trichomoniasis control program rules.

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Highlights from MSGA’s 125th Annual Convention and Trade Show

Attendance was up at MSGA’s 125th Annual Convention and Trade Show, held Dec. 10-12 at a new location—the Crowne Plaza hotel and Metra Park in Billings, Mont. Nearly 750 registrations were recorded.“We had a wonderful convention this year,” said Tom Hougen, MSGA’s President. “A large number of people participated in the committee meetings where policy is set and enjoyed our expanded trade show and educational seminars. The Von Trapp Children Singers provided entertainment that everyone enjoyed. Overall, it was a great convention in a great location!”Below, please find some of the highlights:-Tom Hougen, President, Watty Taylor, 1st Vice President and Tucker Hughes, Second Vice President were re-elected to the second year of their two-year terms.-Michael “Mick” Denowh of the Gartner-Denowh Angus Ranch in Sidney was elected to the Board of Directors representing the Northeastern District. Heath Martinell of Lee Martinell, Co. in Dell was el

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MSGA’s 125th Annual Convention and Trade Show kicks off today!

MSGA's 125th Annual Convention and Trade Show begins today with board meetings at the Crowne Plaza hotel. Tomorrow we move to the MetraPark. See the full schedule below. If you haven't registered yet, you can register on site. We hope you'll join us to "Celebrate the Ranching Spirit!" Schedule of Events Subject to change Thursday, December 10 All meetings and functions to be held at the Crowne Plaza hotel. Trade Show Big Equipment Move-In to be held at the Expo Center building at MetraPark. 7:00 a.m. Coffee Break 7:00 a.m. MSGA Executive Committee Meeting 8:00 a.m. Registration 8:30 a.m. Grass Conservation Commission Meeting 9:00 a.m. MSGA Board of Directors Meeting 10:00 a.m. Montana Hereford Assoc. Annual Meeting 10:20 a.m. MPLC/MASGD Joint Board Meeting 12:00 p.m. REEF Trustee Meeting 2:00 p.m. M

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Public comment on proposed trichomoniasis rule extended to Dec. 24

The Montana Department of Livestock is accepting public comment on proposed rule changes for Trichomoniasis through December 24. The rule governs testing requirements for the disease, which can cause economically devastating reproductive losses in cattle, before cattle can be imported, sold, loaned or leased. The proposed rule changes also make violations a misdemeanor subject to a fine of up to $500 plus investigation expenses, said assistant state veterinarian Dr. Jeanne Rankin.One PCR test or three negative weekly culture tests would be acceptable before import, sale, loan or lease, Rankin said, although other testing may be used by the herd owner and veterinarian for herd health screening. Test results will be valid for 90 days rather than the current 30-day limit as long as animals don’t co-mingle. The extra allows ranchers and veterinarians greater flexibility in selling test-negative bulls.Non-virgin bulls cannot be sold for breeding without a nega

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Centennial ranch book selling out fast; WAR to host book signing at MSGA convention

Time is running out to reserve your copy of "The Weak Ones Turned Back, The Cowards Never Started: A Century of Ranching in Montana." We have fewer than 50 copies left for mail orders and will only have 50 copies available for sale at our 125th Annual Convention and Trade Show in Billings, Dec. 10-12. Don't miss your chance to own a copy of this beautiful and important tribute to Montana's ranching heritage! Mail order copies are $50 each, including shipping and handling. Books will sell for $45 at convention. Call (406) 442-3420 to reserve your copy! Book orders will be available for pickup at conventionIf you have already purchased/reserved your copy and will be attending convention, you will have the

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MSGA to “Celebrate the Ranching Spirit” for 125th Annual Convention and Trade Show, Dec. 10-12

MSGA is gearing up for its 125th Annual Convention and Trade Show, Dec. 10-12 at the Crowne Plaza hotel and MetraPark in Billings. To continue the celebratory mood of MSGA’s 125th Anniversary this past June, the theme of convention is “Celebrating the Ranching Spirit!” MSGA’s convention will feature a great lineup of speakers, entertainment, educational seminars, policy discussions and business meetings. “This year’s convention is a ‘can’t miss’ for anyone involved in Montana’s livestock industry,” said Tom Hougen, MSGA President. “We have a lot of important issues to address in our business meetings, but we also have some great entertainment lined up so we can relax a little and enjoy ourselves. We’re especially excited about our lineup of speakers and Pfizer Cattlemen’s Colleges this year. There will be plenty of opportunities for all of us to learn things that we can take home and im

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BOL Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Brucellosis Order

DOL - The Montana Board of Livestock is seeking public comment on a draft order that proposes to create Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) for continued brucellosis surveillance, vaccination and traceability requirements in areas with risk of brucellosis transmission from wildlife to livestock.The proposed order specifies:-Boundaries for the DSA;-Testing requirements for eligible animals;-Individual animal identification;-Requirements for mandatory Official Calfhood Vaccination (OCV).State veterinarian Dr. Marty Zaluski, who presented the draft order to the Board of Livestock at its meeting in Helena last week, said the order "picks up where the Brucellosis Action Plan left off.""The draft order basically outlines a plan for surveillance and monitoring in increased-risk areas after the state's Brucellosis Action Plan (BAP) sunsets on January 10," Zaluski said. “We’ve known all along that some components of the BAP wou

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Bill Davis Elected President of American Angus Association

American Angus Association® delegates elected five members to its Board of Directors Monday, Nov. 16 at the 126th Annual Convention of Delegates in Louisville, Ky.Newly elected Board Directors include: Charlie Boyd II, Mayslick, Ky.; Scott Foster, Niles, Mich.; and Vaughn Meyer, Reva, S.D. Steve Olson, Hereford, Texas; and Cathy Watkins, Middletown, Ind., were both elected to a second term on the Board.Bill Davis, Sidney, Mont., was elected the American Angus Association president and chairman of the board. He succeeds Jay King, Rock Falls, Ill.Joe Hampton, Mount Ulla, N.C., was chosen by delegates to serve as vice president and vice chairman of the Board. Jarold Callahan, Edmond, Okla., will serve as treasurer for the year.More than 340 elected delegates from throughout the United States and Canada represented American Angus Association members and conducted the business of the Association during the annual meeting and election. The meet

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Congratulations to Jim Peterson Being Elected U.S. Meat Export Federation Chairman

DENVER —- While addressing U.S. Meat Export Federation members during last week’s U.S.M.E.F. Strategic Planning Conference in Denver, Jim Peterson, newly-elected U.S.M.E.F. chairman for the coming year, said limited market access for U.S. meat exports is costing the industry billions of dollars. Resolving these access issues would be a tremendous boost for livestock producers, he added."Many of you have heard me say the export market is a shovel-ready stimulus project waiting to be implemented," Mr. Peterson said. "It is $3 billion a year to our industry and we’re not going to increase any U.S. debt in the process. It’s something that has to be done."He urged industry to be more receptive to voluntary measures that will help address overseas consumers’ concerns about source verification and food safety, offering some examples from his recent visit to Japan, China and South Korea."[The] number-one [consumer concern] is traceability," Mr. Peterson said

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Producer input sought for International Livestock Congress

The annual International Livestock Congress USA (ILC) will convene Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010 at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver. In preparation for the event, organizers are asking cattle producers to outline some of their short-term strategies of beef cattle managers. Results will be used to help frame a panel discussion about balancing costs and expenses in the cow-calf business. The panel will include John Maddux, Maddux Cattle Company, Nebraska; Kevin Yon, Yon Family Farms, South Carolina; and Butch Bratsky, Stockman Banks, Montana.The survey can be completed in five minutes or less, and responses are completely confidential. We need your input!!! Cli

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Effective Stockmanship seminar set for MSGA convention

The Montana Beef Quality (BQA) assurance program will present an "Effective Stockmanship" seminar at the Billings MetraPark Expo Center, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009 at 10:00-11:45 a.m. & 2:00-3:45 p.m. as part of the Pfizer Cattlemen’s Colleges."Effective Stockmanship" has been brought about by the efforts of Curt Pate of Montana and Texas native Ron Gill. Both have a passion for improving the stockmanship skills of cattlemen. Working horseback and on foot, these two men – and now with Ron’s wife, Debbie – have been conducting stockmanship trainings across the country over the past several years."Come to the MSGA convention and see how stockman everywhere are paying closer attention to their livestock handling skills as the beef industry comes under more and more scrutiny by animal welfare activist groups," said Clint Peck, Montana’s director of BQA. "This is an event the entire family, as well as ranch employees, will find useful and enjoyable."Beyo

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MSGA features 142 ranches in upcoming book about Montana centennial ranches

An upcoming book, The Weak Ones Turned Back, The Cowards Never Started: A Century of Ranching in Montana features 142 Montana ranches. The book, edited by Linda Grosskopf and Nancy Morrison, celebrates the long tradition of ranching in Montana, highlighting the stories of 142 ranch families that have been living and working on the same land for over 100 years. Commissioned by the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) to commemorate its 125th Anniversary in 2009, the book honors the perseverance, courage and forward thinking of those who were able to pass their family ranch down the generations and help shape Montana as it is today. The Weak Ones

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MSGA seeking internship applicants for annual convention!

MSGA is seeking three interns to help at our upcoming annual convention, Dec. 10-12. This is a great opportunity to gain valuable career experience and network with important industry members. Interns will be expected to help MSGA staff members in a variety of capacities during the convention so we require that all applicants have completed at least one year of undergraduate education. If you are interested, please send a resume with a cover letter explaining your interest in being a convention intern, plus one letter of reference by Nov. 20th to jessica@mtbeef.org or by mail to MSGA, Attn: Jessica Kirschten, 420 N. California, Helena, MT 59601. If you would like more information, please call Jessica at (406) 442-3420.

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MSGA kicks off Fall Membership Roundup and reminds ranchers about the importance of being involved

Helena - The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) recently launched its 2009 Fall Membership Roundup and MSGA President Tom Hougen is taking this opportunity to remind Montana ranchers about the importance of being involved in associations such as MSGA.“With all the things happening right now in Washington, D.C. that have the potential to drastically change the way we are allowed to do our work as ranchers, everyone needs to get involved in their associations, local and statewide,” Hougen said. “It is vitally important to join groups like MSGA to let your voice be heard and help direct the work done to protect our livelihoods and way of life.”MSGA has served and advocated for Montana cattle ranchers since 1884. As a leader in the agriculture industry, MSGA actively participates in state and national legislative processes. MSGA attends a significant number of regulatory meetings and provides a voice for the interests of its members.MSGA is

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DOL reminds producers to fill out risk surveys for Brucellosis Action Plan by Dec. 31

DOL - The Montana Department of Livestock is reminding producers that the state's Brucellosis Action Plan, which remains in effect until January 10, 2010, calls for testing of all sexually intact cattle 12 months of age and older in Area 1 (Beaverhead, Carbon, Gallatin, Madison, Park, Stillwater and Sweet Grass counties) by December 31, 2009."It's important that producers in Area 1 get risk surveys filled out as quickly as possible," said Dr. Eric Liska, the department's brucellosis program veterinarian.Once producers complete an operation-specific risk survey, they will receive a letter from the department detailing specific testing requirements based on the risk of brucellosis transmission from seropositive elk. Depending on the risks, the letter may provide a variance on the BAP's whole-herd testing requirement. Without a variance, a whole-herd brucell

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MSGA will be at the NILE in Billings, Oct. 10-17

MSGA will be in Billings for the Northern International Livestock Exposition at the MetraPark, Oct. 10-17. The Ford F-150 truck that we will be giving away to one lucky member at our Annual Convention, Dec. 10-12 at the Metra, will be featured in the NILE Ranch Rodeo on Oct. 10. The truck will also be at MSGA’s booth in the Expo Center, Oct. 12-17. Ariel and Rose will be manning the booth so be sure to stop in and say hello! At the booth, you can enter to win the truck and buy raffle tickets for a chance to win tickets and hotel for two to the 2009 NFR, for three days and three nights, plus $500 traveling money! The winner will be drawn Oct. 17, and you don’t have to be present to win. We’ll also be selling raffle tickets for a two-day getaway to the Wilderness Edge Resort in Ennis. The winner will be drawn at our Annual Convention in December. If you haven’t ordered your copy of “The Weak Ones Turned Back, The Cowards Never Started: A Century of Ranching in Montana,” edited by Linda G

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Letter from Taylor Brown: More good news for MSU Animal BioScience Complex

Dear Supporters of the MSU Animal BioScience Complex: I have great news! Your work with our Montana Congressional Delegation, to help get the money appropriated for the federal USDA Ag Research Service building on the MSU campus is paying off. Today we got word from Congressman Rehberg’s office that the final Ag Appropriations bill is now passed and on its way to President Obama for his signature. That Bill includes $3,654,000.00 to build the Research Building that will be built just a few yards from the Classroom Building that is presently under construction. This is the fifth federal appropriation to this ARS federal research building over the past six years since Senator Conrad Burns started this ball rolling. The total cost is estimated at $24 million, so we still have a ways to go; but as you can see below, we have passed the half-way mark! Appropriations to the USDA-ARS Animal BioScience Research Facility at MSU FY

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DOL now listing estrayed livestock on-line

DOL - Montana Department of Livestock has gone live with its new online estray notice system.Senate Bill 104, which called for revisions to Montana Code Annotated 81-4-603 and was widely supported during the state's most recent legislative session.Notices for estrayed livestock can be found on the department's web site at http://liv.mt.gov/liv/BE/estray/estrays.asp, and will also be published in the official county newspaper where the estray was found. All notices will contain the sale date and location for estray as well as a general description that includes sex, an illustration of the brand and brand location, and location where the estray was found. Prior to passage of SB 104, estrays had to be held for 30-60 days rather than 10-30 days, and notices had to be published at least once a week for four consecutive weeks. With hor

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Brucellosis and tuberculosis concept papers published for public comment

Today USDA APHIS published concept papers on brucellosis and tuberculosis rule revisions. The public can provide comments until December 4, 2009. Notice of Publication and BRUCELLOSIS Concept Paperhttp://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#docketDetail?R=APHIS-2009-0006Notice of Publication and TUBERCULOSIS Concept Paperhttp://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#docketDetail?R=APHIS-2009-0073

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MSU Opens Search for Animal and Range Sciences Department Head

As the brand-new Animal BioSciences Building nears completion on the campus of Montana State University, the MSU College of Agriculture has formally begun their nation-wide search for a new Department Head for their Animal and Range Sciences Department. The nine-member search committee to fill the Animal and Range Sciences Department Head position will be chaired by Dr. Mark Quinn. To view the vacancy announcement for a Department Head and Professor that has been published, click here: http://www.montana.edu/cgi-bin/msuinfo/fpview/f/9893-2The new Department Head/Professor will be responsible for: providing vision and leadership for the department; leading, coordinating, growing and administering the Department's teaching, research and outreach programs; recruiting personnel, managing budgets, evaluating performance; and teaching in the classroom, and maintaining a research program

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Governor Schweitzer Steps Back on Support For Clean Water Act Jurisdiction Bill

This from inside the EPA... WHITEFISH, MT -- Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) is turning back on his support for legislation to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA), saying he has major concerns that even a narrowed version of the bill pushed by home-state Sen. Max Baucus (D), one of the bill’s key sponsors, may extend the “long arm of the federal government” too far. “I’m a big proponent of clean water . . . but we’ve had our belly full of Washington, D.C. coming to Montana and telling us they know better,” Schweitzer said in an interview, “we recognize that it is the locals in Montana that have been protecting these water resources over the course of the last 100 years.” Environmentalists have cited Schweitzer’s past support of the legislation to bolster their efforts to pass the bill. But his shift on the legislation could indicate the changing political climate as Democrats lose support in rural areas. It could also undermine Baucus’ support for

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For ranchers on the Hi-Line, ‘It’s the land that matters’

Linda Poole, executive director of the Ranchers Stewardship Alliance wrote a an op ed published today in the Great Falls Tribune to respond to some coverage the paper had given last week to a recent BLM meeting ("Ranchers criticize plans for bison herds at BLM meeting"). Her piece discusses the very important role ranchers play in conservation of the prairie grasslands of the area and the wildlife and plant species that call it home. Check her article out here.

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Tester to host open houses on Forest Jobs and Recreation Act this weekend in Dillon and Bozeman

From Senator Tester's Washington, D.C. Office – Senator Jon Tester will host two open houses this weekend to discuss the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act.Tester’s first open house is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Beier Auditorium on the campus of University of Montana-Western in Dillon. The second event is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Monday in the third-floor community room of the Gallatin County Courthouse.Both events are free and open to the public.After presentations, Tester and his staff will be on hand to gather feedback and answer questions about the legislation.EVENT: Forest Jobs and Recreation Act open house with Sen. Jon TesterDATE/TIME: Saturday, September 26, from 9-10:30 a.m.LOCATION: Beier AuditoriumUniversity of Montana-Western, DillonDATE/TIME: Monday, September 28, from 9:30-11 a.m.LOCATION: 3rd Fl

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Unique Partnership Promotes Conservation through Ranching

PLC - A group of respected ranching and conservation organizations have come together to form a unique broad based coalition to enhance ranching practices that consider important conservation issues throughout the West. The Coalition for Conservation through Ranchingis a new multi-stakeholder partnership between national conservation-minded groups that share an interest in promoting open space for ranching and healthy landscapes. The recently signed agreement marks the beginning of the unique relationship. Steering committee members of the coalition include the Public Lands Council (PLC), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Family Farm Alliance (FFA) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Other organizations that have joined the coalition at this time are the American Farmland Trust, the American Forage and Grassland Council, the California Farm Bureau Federation, the Society for Rangelan

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FSA to Host Public Meetings on Conservation Reserve Program

Bozeman, MT – The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will be conducting a public meeting on the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) September 17, 2009 from 5-7 p.m. at the Hampton Inn in Great Falls.Topics to be discussed at the meeting include provisions dealing with cropping history requirements, crop rotation practices, contract incentives, program enrollment terms and the CRP enrollment cap of 32 million acres established for the remainder of the 2008 Farm Bill.“We are fortunate to be one of nine states to host a public comment meeting to receive feedback on how FSA can make the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) more effective for landowners and operators,” stated Bruce Nelson, FSA State Executive Director in Montana. FSA will consider each comment received at the public meetings and during the comment period when preparing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. This statement will help FSA at the national level and the public with

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Registration now open for the 6th Annual Young Ag Leadership Conference

Register now for the 2009 Young Ag Leadership Conference (YALC) October 2-4 at the Red Lion Colonial Inn in Helena. This unique conference—a partnership between eight of Montana’s primary agricultural groups—allows young producers from throughout the state to come together across organization and commodity lines for hands-on workshops, discussion groups and networking. The conference is designed for anyone ages 18-40 who is involved with or concerned about Montana’s agricultural industry. Conference hosts include Montana Cattlemen’s Association, Montana 4-H Foundation, Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Montana FFA Foundation, Montana Grain Growers Association, Montana State University College of Agriculture, Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Montana Wool Growers Association. “This conference is a great opportunity to showcase agricultural groups in Montana working toward the same g

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MSGA compiles book “The Weak Ones Turned Back, The Cowards Never Started: A Century of Ranching in Montana” for December release

To commemorate its 125th Anniversary, the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) is compiling a book featuring over 140 Montana ranches that are 100 years old or older. The book, “The Weak Ones Turned Back, The Cowards Never Started: A Century of Ranching in Montana,” features present-day working livestock ranches that have been in the same family and location as when they were established over a century ago. Many of the ranches in the book were honored at MSGA’s 125th Anniversary Celebration in Miles City, June 10‐14, 2009.The stories and photographs of these ranches comprise nearly 500 pages which will be published in this collectible hard‐bound book, edited by Linda Grosskopf and Nancy Morrison. The cover features a JK Ralston painting, “

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MSGA members Two Dot Land and Livestock Co., American Fork Ranch & Robert E. Lee Ranch Co. to be featured on 2009 Governor’s Range Tour

DNRC – Excellence and innovation in rangeland management will be on display at the 2009 Governor’s Range Tour, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 17, and Friday, Sept. 18, in Harlowton, Mont. Tour participants on the first day will visit the Two Dot Land and Livestock Co., where Zach Jones will discuss holistic grazing and management practices. The second stop will be at the American Fork Ranch where lunch will be served at the beautiful ranch headquarters. Following the meal, American Fork Ranch manager Jed Evjene will discuss his experiences with the EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) through the

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Young Stockgrowers announce third annual “Cattle Crawl” dinner tour in Billings

Helena – The Third Annual Cattle Crawl, a progressive beef dinner tour of the Windmill, Bistro Enzo, Rex and the Montana Rib and Chop House restaurants in Billings, Mont. will take place Sept. 13 this year. The Cattle Crawl is a project of the Young Stockgrowers committee of the Montana Stockgrowers Association to acquaint urban consumers with producers and to encourage foodservice establishments to feature beef in a creative way. Tours will begin at 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. at the Windmill, where diners will kick off the evening with a tenderloin kabob appetizer on a bed of parmesan mashed potatoes topped with a roasted red pepper sauce. The group will then board the bus to Bistro Enzo, where the chef will serve a traditional Greek salad with flank steak, roasted peppers, local feta, cucumber, and a lemon and oregano vinaigrette. The historic Rex restaurant will present a hanging tenderloin with a peppercorn sauce accompanied by au gratin potatoes and asparagus with a Hollandaise

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Want to bend Congressman Rehberg’s ear about something? Here’s your chance…

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today announced listening sessions in sixteen of Montana’s 56 counties in August. Rehberg makes it a point to visit each of Montana’s counties each congressional term.“Traveling Montana and visiting with folks from every corner of the state is one of the best parts of my job” said Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “It gives me a chance to hear from Montanans, many of whom who feel like Congress isn’t responsive to their concerns. Rather than a month of me telling folks what they should think, these listening sessions let me listen and learn from Montanans so I can bring some of that Western common sense to the debates in Washington, D.C.”Rehberg’s full listening session tour for August is listed below.Stillwater County Listening Session in ColumbusThursday, August 6, 9 amColumbus City Hall408 East 1st AvenueSweet Grass C

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Beef Quality Assurance Twilight Training to be held at Midland Bull Test in Columbus, Aug. 5

The Midland Bull Test Center in Columbus will host a free Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Twilight Training session on Aug. 5, from 4-7:30 p.m. The session will include low-stress cattle handling demonstrations, chute-side cattle treatment, animal care discussions and an industry update. A free dinner will be provided and attendees have the opportunity to become BQA certified. A special BQA project, "Ranchers Care," will also be introduced.This event is sponsored by Stockman Bank and the Montana Stockgrowers Association through a grant from the Montana Beef Council. For more information, contact Midland Bull Test at (406) 322-5597; Lars Hanson at the Stockman Bank in Billings at (406) 655-3943; or Clint Peck of Billings, Montana BQA director, at (406) 896-9068. To learn more about BQA programming, go to http://www.mtbqa.org.Upcoming BQA Twilight Training Sessions will be held Aug. 27 at Ehlke Herefords in Townsend

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MSGA creates Facebook page

Check out MSGA's new Facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Helena-MT/Montana-Stockgrowers-Association/121110932058?ref=ts

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Conservation Stewardship Program Alert

By Carl Mattson, Program Coordinator, Montana MarketManagerThe Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) sign-up for 2009 is expected to be announced during the first half of August. The premier conservation program has undergone a substantial make over in the 2008 Farm Bill. One significant change will be program availability on a competitive application basis to all agricultural producers in Montana.Although the rules for CSP have not been released and many of the particulars are still unknown at this time, MSGA thought it important to provide as much notice to members as possible. MSGA does know the following:-Sign-up is expected to start in early August 2009. August 10th has been mentioned-The sign-up period is anticipated to extend only through September 30, 2009-Information will be available soon at your local NRCS office-All agricultural operations are eligible to submit an applicatio

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After sharp industry criticism, feds drop NBEZ proposal; offer new “Designated Surveillance Area Plan”

From the Montana Stockgrower Update, July 24, 2009The National Brucellosis Elimination Zone (NBEZ), a plan released earlier this year to regionalize the area around Yellowstone National Park for brucellosis, has been shelved by APHIS and an alternate proposal, the "Designated Surveillance Area Plan" (DSA) will be released soon.MSGA, along with our counterparts in Idaho and Wyoming, met with APHIS in Washington D.C. in March to express concerns over the NBEZ proposal. Specifically, MSGA expressed concern that 1.) The plan was moving too fast with too little input from those ranchers who deal with this problem day in and day out; 2.) Creating such a zone would only serve to cordon off those ranchers without actually providing them any extra tools to combat the problem; 3.) The plan as it was written did not include any measurable goals for reducing or eliminating the disease in that area; and 4.) There was no sunset date as far as when ranchers in this ar

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Montana and national livestock groups denounce “cash-for-grass” pitch by wildlife groups

Today the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA), Montana Public Lands Council (MPLC), Montana Association of Grazing Districts (MASGD) and the national Public Lands Council (PLC) denounced an effort by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to buy out ranchers’ grazing leases on the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge (CMR) in south Phillips County, Mont., to reduce supposed conflicts between livestock grazing and conservation of sage grouse and elk on the refuge.“As many of our members in south Phillips County have shown on their own ranches, as well as on their leases; livestock grazing and conservation of native grassland species work best hand-in-hand.” said Errol Rice, executive vice president of MSGA.Earlier this week, MSGA and many of its members received a letter from the WWF and the NWF declaring their intentions to offer ranchers cash payments for voluntarily relinquishing their entitled grazing permits on the CM

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MSGA applauds efforts to regain brucellosis Class Free status

Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service announced it has upgraded Montana’s brucellosis status from Class A to Class Free.“This is a huge relief to cattle producers in Montana,” said Tom Hougen, president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “It has only been 10 months since we were officially downgraded, and the Montana Department of Livestock—especially State Veterinarian, Dr. Marty Zaluski—and APHIS should be commended for their efforts in returning Montana to Class Free status so quickly.”Hougen added, “The entire livestock industry in Montana should also be commended for pulling together in the face of this difficult situation and undergoing burdensome testing requirements in order for the whole state to regain its Class Free Status.”Montana must now remain free of brucellosis for 12 consecutive months to retain its Class Free status.

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Beef Quality Assurance updates

Here are a couple of Beef Quality Assurance updates from Clint Peck, Montana BQA director:Ranchers Care Project Up and RunningYou may have already heard some of the “Ranchers Care” spots on your local radio stations. Hopefully though, more than ranchers are hearing the messages highlighting the new Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program designed to help boost consumer confidence in the beef industry.To date, "Ranchers Care" has featured Kristin Larson and Bill and Jennifer Davis, Sidney; J.O. Miller and Diana Scollard, Absarokee; Jim and Dena Fritz, Chester and David Fryer, White Sulphur Springs.The tagline for Ranchers Care – “We care about the cattle we raise and we care about the beef you eat” – underscores to consumers the two-fold role ranchers play in providing safe and healthy beef from cattle that are raised on our cattle operations. "Ranchers Care" is focusing on consumer markets in Billings, Missoula, Butte, Helena, Kal

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2009 Montana Youth Range Camp to be held July 27-31 in Lincoln

DNRC – Applications are now available for the 2009 Montana Youth Range Camp. This year’s camp will be held the week of July 27-31 at Cane West Ridge near the town of Lincoln, Mont., and is open to all youth ages 12 -18.“Range camp is a great experience for students with 4-H or FFA backgrounds, and for young people interested in native plants, geology and other natural resource topics,” said Heidi Olbert, Rangeland Program Coordinator with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC).Students will attend outdoor classes covering four major subjects: water and riparian areas; soils and geology; rangeland monitoring; and wildlife and livestock grazing management. Students also receive instruction in plant identification and anatomy, and work in teams to solve a natural resource or range management problem, presenting their solutions to a panel of judges at the end of the week.Along with coursework, Youth Range Camp offers opportun

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MSGA applauds Rehberg for asking Japan to lift age restrictions on American beef

Last week, Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg, asked Japan to lift its restrictions on American boneless beef from cattle aged over 20 months, after the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) removed age limits on boneless beef from countries affected by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. The request was formally made in a letter dated June 18, 2009 following a policy reversal by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to lift age limits on countries affected by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease.“Montana’s beef producers do everything possible to ensure the safety and quality of their product, and they turn out the best beef in the world,” said Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “But obsolete trade restrictions take our beef off the shelves in Japan, and hurt Montana’s economy. Now that the policy behind the Japanese ban has been reversed, it's time to open markets to Montana producers."

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Montana Stockgrowers Association Turns 125 Years Old

It is more than humbling for me to be going to Miles City next week as the 10th Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. The association has endured and seen a lot of things since that inaugural meeting in Miles City way back in 1884. My hope is that this very special occasion will bring forth a great opportunity to unite a cattle industry in Montana that has been more than divided over the past decade.You will not want to miss the parade, ranch rodeo, stockmen's ball, wagon trains, artwork and more. For more information about this monumental celebration next week visit www.mtbeef.org to download the full schedule and registration form. Hope to see you in Miles City!

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MSGA to sponsor Custer Ranch Rodeo team to benefit the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, June 20

The Custer community will hold its Third Annual Custer Ranch Rodeo to benefit the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF&WHC) at the Custer Roping Arena, June 20, 2009 beginning at 1 p.m. A dinner and dance will follow at the Junction City Saloon.The ranch rodeo will feature 10 four-person teams (including at least one woman or one man) that will compete in stock saddle bronc riding, wild cow milking, team doctoring, team branding, and team penning. Teams will also compete this year in a new event called the “Pony Express Race.” Also new this year, the winning team in Custer will qualify to compete at the NILE Championship Ranch Rodeo in Billings in October.For more information about the Custer Ranch Rodeo, contact Tami Blake, Custer Ranch Rodeo chair, at (406) 757-2501 or theblakes@rangeweb.net.

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Montana CattleWomen present “Teens in the Kitchen” at their Annual Beef Cook-Off

The Montana CattleWomen will sponsor the Seventh Annual State Beef Cook-Off at the Great Falls State Fair on July 29, 2009. The contest, entitled “Teens in the Kitchen,” will take place in the Family Living Center at the Montana State Fairgrounds between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. At 5 p.m. winners will be announced and cash prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places; $150, $75, and $50 respectively.“Teens in the Kitchen” will create their own fun beef recipe that promotes nutritional balance, is loved by teens and has all-family appeal. Any teenager between the ages of 13-18 may enter the contest. Teens must be able to prepare and display the beef dish without adult assistance. Contest entry forms and rules are available at the Cascade County Extension Office at (406) 454-6980, or 1807 3rd St. N.W. Westgate Mall, Great Falls, 59404; or at www.montanacattlewomen.org. Entry deadline is July 20, 2009.

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Miles City to host Montana Range Days, June 15-17

Montana Range Days, the largest rangeland educational event in the region, will be held in Miles City, June 15-17. More than 300 youth and adults are expected to join rangeland experts for three days to discuss rangeland management and the ecology of Montana’s most abundant natural resource.Montana Range Days provides hands-on workshops on plant anatomy, plant identification, range site evaluation, monitoring, stocking rate calculation and range management planning. A series of well-supervised activities are offered to teach 4-to-8-year-old children about soils, water, plants and the animals that live on rangelands. Following the workshops, competitions are open to youth and adults in four age classes beginning with 9-year-olds. In addition to prizes for the competitions, three $1,000 scholarships are offered for students planning to attend any Montana college to earn a degree in rangeland-related fields. The Office of Public Instruction is also offering continuing educatio

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“Making It Work in Tough Times” workshop to be held June 2 in Geyser

The 2009 Judith Basin County Range School will offer a day-long workshop June 2 in Geyser, Mont., on managing cattle and grazing lands in today’s uncertain economy. The workshop, “Making It Work in Tough Times,” will feature speakers Gregg Doud, Chief Economist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA); David Pratt, CEO of Ranch Management Consultants, Inc.; and Montana’s own Jon Siddoway, NRCS State Range Conservationist. Mr. Doud currently manages top-level economic and international trade policy issues for the NCBA in Washington, D.C., and co-staffs the policy division of the NCBA International Markets Committee. Mr. Doud’s presentation is entitled, “Survival of the Fittest.”David Pratt has extensive experience in Range and Livestock with the California Extension Service and has been teaching the international Ranching for Profit School since 1992. Mr. Pratt will speak on “The Three Keys to Profit in Good Times and Bad” as well as “Eco

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Governor Vetoes Agriculture Funding

Montana's Governor Brian Schweitzer line-item vetoed $2 million for deferred maintenance of Montana Agriculture Experiment Stations. Montana's entire agriculture industry worked very hard to get this funding during the legislature. Agriculture is still Montana's number one economic engine and this funding had bipartisan support to help keep our agriculture research experiment stations on the cutting edge of global agriculture production. Right here in Montana! I have talked to many in agriculture about this and they are very upset and very dissapointed. To read the full article go to: http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2009/05/15/news/state/18-governor.txt

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Governors Fight Disease Plan

Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal and Governor Butch Otter of Idaho are asking USDA APHIS to slow down on their plans to implement the National Brucellosis Eliminations Zone. To read the full article go to the Billings Gazette website at: http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2009/05/07/news/wyoming/44-fightdisease.txtThe Montana Stockgrowers Association along with the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association and the Idaho Cattlemen's Association are all supportive of the joint letter by the two governors. MSGA sent a similar letter on April 22nd to USDA APHIS.

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MSGA Says “NO” to Mandatory NAIS

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) opposes any proposed mandatory government National Animal Identification System (NAIS) because the organization feels such a system cannot sufficiently protect producer data, and any government program is likely to grow into a large bureaucracy complete with red tape and unnecessary expense to producers. It has long been MSGA’s stance that a private industry solution would be better for Montana’s cattlemen, while still providing the government with the information it requires in the event of an animal health emergency.MSGA has long recognized the importance and the need for a national livestock identification system for better livestock control and for disease surveillance. MSGA members want a system that operates at minimal cost and protects producer confidentiality, while also recognizing the hot iron brand as a method of cattle identification for individual states as they see fit. It all begins with a core philosophy. MSGA has

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Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg Testifies Against NREPA

The Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Public Lands Council and the Montana Association of State Grazing Districts all have been in opposition to The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, proposed in 2007 and again in 2009. Representing livestock producers, who make a living on operations of combined private, state and federal lands, we know this means fewer livestock in these designated areas. This piece of legislation, introduced by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY),most recently on May 5th, would designate nearly 7 million acres of public land in Montana as wilderness. The livestock industry in Montana takes exception to this type of wilderness designation from a Representative that has never even set foot in our state. Our organizations have historically supported the multiple use of public lands, but the designation of additional wilderness eliminates many multiple uses and will seriously curtail others, such as livestock grazing.

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Cattle Theft Bill Becomes Law

On April 28, 2009, Senate Bill 214, better known as the Cattle Theft Bill, became law. This bill set a minimum fine of not less than $5,000 or more than $50,000 for a person convicted of the theft of any commonly domesticated hoofed animal. This bill also allowed for a prison term not to exceed 10 years, or if deferred, the court shall order the offender to perform 416 hours of community service during a 1-year period, in the offender's county of residence. In addition to the fine and imprisonment, the offender's property is subject to criminal forfeiture pursuant.This bill was the result of policy started at the local level from the Carter County Sheep and Cattle Growers, vetted through the MSGA policy process and finally through the Montana legislative session. This is a great example of the effective policy process MSGA has in place to address issues in our industry.During the Session, this bill did face some real challenges and was met with some real opposition,

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Ranchers Have Been Paying for Conservation

In today's Bozeman Daily Chronicle an opinion was published by a Belgrade, MT resident titled, "Everyone must be required to pay for conservation." Essentially, the opinion was of the nature that the legislature did not devote enough money for the conservation of nongame wildlife. Perhaps that is true but the letter struct a deeper message with me. I extracted a message from the letter that suggested that conservation is only funded by anglers and sportsmen and that the general public should have to pay more.Ranchers, who are tax paying members of the general public seem to rarely get a fair shake in the eyes of the environemental, conservation and sporting community for doing good conservation work. Media outlets like the Bozeman Daily Chronicle who often print opinions like the aforemention one will rarely recognize or report on the stewardship successes of ranching. As a result, the general public has a limited understanding of what ranchers do that is healthy for the la

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Grazing a major threat to wildlife on Western public lands?

Last week the WildEarth Guardians, a group that "protects and restores the wildlife, wild places and wild rivers of the American West" sent out a press release detailing the results of its recent report "Western Wildlife Under Hoof." The report claims that "incessant, ubiquitous public lands livestock grazing has contributed to the decline of native wildlife" and "public lands grazing continues within the much reduced current ranges of these species, complicating their recovery and in some cases, threatening them with extinction." The report also claims that "There is a greater economic value in non-consumptive uses of public land -- hunting, fishing, birdwatching, hiking, camping -- than livestock grazing." Check out the press release below and click on the link at the end to view the entire report. Post a comment here if you would like to chime in on this report.New Report Finds Western Public Lands Grazing as a Major Threat to Wildlife Geographical Analysis Depic

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Schweitzer Vetoes Coal Bed Water Measure

Governor Schweitzer was quick on the draw with his veto pen this week and struck down HB 575. The bill sponsored by Represenative Bill McChesney, a Democrat from Miles City was designed to revise water laws in Montana relating to coal bed methane water use. Currently, as a result of litigation ranchers cannot be permitted to use coal bed methane water for watering their livestock. Nor can ranchers use the water for any other beneficial use.Many ranchers from southeastern Montana came to Helena to testify in favor of the measure. They said the use of this water could make a positive difference in the productivity of their ranches and their livestock. The water is already permitted to discharge into rivers and holding ponds but it would not be allowed for watering cattle. From a livestock watering perspective this bill made sense!

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Brucellosis Action Plan to take effect May 15; testing may be required in seven counties

MDOL - The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) today announced it expects its Brucellosis Action Plan to be implemented by May 15. Designed to support the marketability of Montana cattle and enhance the state’s prospects for regaining brucellosis-free status, the plan will primarily affect livestock producers in a seven-county area surrounding Yellowstone National Park."Starting on May 15, producers in the seven counties around Yellowstone Park may be required to test their cattle for brucellosis, and those producers who want to sell or move cattle to a county outside that area will be required to test," said Dr. Marty Zaluski, state veterinarian.Zaluski emphasized that the state Legislature approved funding to support costs of the action plan, which will help offset the burden on producers. The seven counties designated for increased surveillance by the Brucellosis Action Plan (BAP), identified in the plan as "Area 1," are Beaverhead, Carbon, Galla

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New web service offered to help control game damage

Doecowhunt.com – Recently, a Montana company launched a free online service for Montana farmers and ranchers experiencing game damage problems. Doecowhunt.com is a new web service aimed directly at excessive numbers of wildlife damaging croplands and haystacks. The website is simple, easy to use, and loads quickly on rural dialup internet connections.Currently, the only recourse landowners have to control wildlife is to open their land to public hunting, either through the FWP Block Management program, or through a self managed system. Both methods have their drawbacks. Most hunters are looking to harvest bucks and bulls while farmers and ranchers need to harvest does and cows. Therein lies the rub.Doecowhunt.com offers a novel solution: matching hunters willing and even eager to harvest female wildlife with landowners suffering crop damage. The website works by first regi

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Working Stock Dog Clinic to be held in Belgrade May 22-24

May 22-24, Rose Cattle Company and Circle L Arena in Belgrade will present a Working Stock Dog Clinic with Elvin Kopp of That’ll Do Ranch. The class will start on Friday at 3 p.m. and run until 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, classes will be hands-on in the arena from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Participant fee is $350 for all three days and a half price fee is available to audit the class. For more information, or to register, please contact John Rose at (406) 285-6849 or (406) 580-6849. Class size is limited, please call early.

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Range Riders orientation camp set for May 28-30 in Cameron

Press Release from Keystone ConservationRange Riders: Supporting the Coexistence of Wolves and LivestockBozeman - “How can increasing wolf populations and successful livestock operations coexist?” This is the question to be posed at a three-day workshop scheduled for late May. The Madison Valley Ranchlands Group and Keystone Conservation are offering a forum for sharing information about ranching near wolves and an orientation to range riding for livestock producers and riders. By gathering people raising livestock near wolves and biologists intent on making coexistence work, the orientation offers the chance to gain insight into wolf/livestock interactions and share experience on successful (and unsuccessful) practices.Wolves represent a major new challenge to livestock production in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. In an attempt to reduce conflict between wolves and livestock, the Antelope Basin Range Riders program began in 2004, as

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MSGA excited to announce partnership with Montana Ford Dealers; members will have chance to win brand new Ford F-150 truck!

Today the Montana Stockgrowers Association announced its exciting new partnership with Montana Ford Dealers, designating Ford “The Official Truck of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.”“We are so thrilled to have partnered with Ford,” said Tom Hougen, MSGA president. “Ranchers rely on quality, dependable trucks that can hold up to the demands of a working ranch. Ford trucks have a rich history and a strong reputation with ranchers, so we think this is going to be a great program for our members.”One lucky MSGA member will drive home with full ownership of a 2009 Ford F-150 truck at MSGA’s annual convention in Billings, December 10-12. Must be current MSGA member and present at the Grand Finale Banquet to win.MSGA is also kicking off its “Spring Membership Roundup.” In honor of MSGA’s 125th anniversary this year, MSGA is offering a special new membership for $125. MSGA will celebrate its 125th anniversary June 10-13 in Miles City. Planned events inc

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Montana Livestock Forum, Nutrition Conference set for April 21, 22

From MSU News Service BOZEMAN -- Meaningless information that cattle buyers don't value any more is one of the many topics that will be discussed during this year's Montana Livestock Forum and Nutrition Conference in Bozeman. The conference, titled "They're Black and They've had their Shots ... Any other Questions?," will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, April 21 and 22, at the Gran Tree Inn. Ranchers will hear a variety of presentations during the annual conference sponsored by the Montana Feed Association and Montana State University Extension. They'll learn about five places they can save money and five places they can spend it, for example. They'll hear the results of a National Animal Identification System study on cattle identification, receive an update on MSU's new Animal Bioscience Building and hear predictions about cattle prices in the

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Jan French named BOL chair

Today, at the beginning of the Board of Livestock meeting, Jan French announced that she had been named chairman of the board. No new appointees were announced. Two seats remain vacant after the resignations of former chairman, Bill Hedstrom, who represented the dairy industry, and Becky Weed who represented the sheep industry.

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Weed resigns from Board of Livestock, next meeting March 9 & 10

Earlier this week, the Department of Livestock announced that Governor Brain Schweitzer had accepted the resignation of Becky Weed from the Board of Livestock. Weed was appointed by Schweitzer in 2007 as a representative of the sheep industry.From our discussions with Weed, it is clear that she was forced to resign. She recently sold the majority of her sheep and Schweitzer cited this as his reason for asking for her resignation--despite the fact that she had informed the administration and industry groups of her plans a month ago and no objection was raised. She still has a few sheep and continues to run her woolen mill at her Thirteen Mile Lamb & Wool Company in Belgrade. There have been other members in the recent past who have had only a small number of the livestock of the industry they represented, so this begs the question of what really prompted Schweitzer to remove Weed from the board? That remains unclear at this point

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Legislature is heating up…

Things are really starting to heat up at the Legislature this week as legislators try to have their bills heard before the Transmittal deadline. The deadline of Feb. 26 (also the mid point of the session) is quickly approaching and we have heard that any general bill not heard in committee by the 20th will not have much of a chance of surviving. (After Feb.26, bills that have not passed one chamber and moved on to the other will die. Appropriation and Revenue bills have until the last week in March or so.) Next week's slate is quickly filling up with bills that have the potential to impact Montana's livestock industry. Below, please find a select list of bills we are watching:HB 418 - Authorize investor owned livestock slaughter and processing plants (Edward Butcher, R-Winifred). Will be heard by the House Agriculture Committee.

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Veseth Cattle Company Honored at 2009 Cattle Industry Convention

Dale and Janet Veseth were honored as the Region V Environmental Stewardship Award winners at the 2009 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Phoenix last week. Please click on the video above to see their introduction.

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Hedstrom resigns as Board of Livestock chairman

The Department of Livestock has indicated that Bill Hedstrom has resigned as chairman of the Board of Livestock. Hedstrom, from Kalispell, was the board's dairy representative in addition to his duties as chair. He has served as chair since 2005.The timing of his resignation followed a hearing on a bill relating to the milk control board, a board that has faced much controversy in the past year. Hedstrom is rumored to have testified at this hearing, though we cannot conclusively link the hearing and the resignation. At this time, there has been no word from the Governor's office as to a replacement. The next BOL meeting is scheduled for March 9-10 in Helena.

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Brucellosis funding would be appropriated from the General Fund in House Bill 3

Funding for the Montana Brucellosis Action Plan (which was given final approval by the Board of Livestock on Jan. 13, 2009) is in House Bill 3, sponsored by Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, by request of the office of Budget and Program Planning. HB 3 would appropriate money to various state agencies for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009. The Department of Livestock would receive $2,375,784 from the General Fund for funding for brucellosis under the bill as it is currently drafted. The balance remaining in the Brucellosis appropriation on June 30, 2009, up to $2 million, is appropriated for fiscal year 2010. The bill also includes $3 million from State Special Revenue for the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation for wildfire suppression. The Crime Control Division would receive $15,000 of State Special Revenue for a domestic violence program and the Department of Transportation would receive $2.6 million of State Special Revenue and $17.4 million Federal Special Revenue for co

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Government estimates one in 200 children is a vegetarian

A recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found one in 200 U.S. children under 18 years of age is a vegetarian. According to the study, a vegetarian diet is one totally devoid of meat – red or white.The study is the government’s first estimate of vegetarianism in children. “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007” used data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey to report estimates of complementary and alternative medicine use among U.S. adults and children, including estimates of diet-based therapies. When reporting on vegetarianism in the adult population, the study found adults following a vegetarian diet decreased 0.1 percent from 2002 to 2007.The Associated Press ran a piece about the study, which was picked up by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the C

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Governor appoints new member to Board of Livestock

On Friday, January 9, Governor Schweitzer appointed Ed Waldner of Chester to the Board of Livestock. Jan French was redesignated as a cattle representative to fill the seat vacated by Meg Smith and Waldner filled the swine producer seat. Waldner's term will end March1, 2011.The Board of Livestock will meet today and tomorrow in Helena. Click here for the agenda. Tuesday at 8:45 a.m. Marty Zaluski will discuss the Brucellosis Action Plan and the IBMP Adaptive Management Plan. MSGA has some continuing concerns about the funding of the BAP. Zaluski has said that he has requested over $2 million from the state to cover testing and other associated costs of the plan. However, with the recent state budget concerns, MSGA is worried the money will not be available. Check back for more information as the meeting progresses.

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