MSGA News

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Ehlke Herefords – Townsend

Ehlke Herefords in Townsend, Montana is a family-owned ranch that focuses on the female. Mark, Della, Jane'a and Lacey work the ranch with Ryan Hamilton. The Ehlke Family is a great group of people and have worked hard to develop the Hereford breed. 

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Bill Donald, NCBA President

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEEDsbqGPqA?fs=1&w=425&h=344]Montana Stockgrowers Association past president, Bill Donald became NCBA's president this week in Denver. You can watch his speech from the annual membership meeting where he officially grabbed the presidential reins.

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Young Farmers and Ranchers Call on the Capitol

MFBF - Twenty young farmers and ranchers from across the state had the opportunity to sit in on hearings, have breakfast with legislators and meet with various state agencies during the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers (MFBF YF&R) and/Montana Young Stockgrower’s Calling on the Capitol Feb. 24-25 in Helena. “The legislative breakfast provided a great opportunity to sit down and visit with your local legislator about any concerns,” noted Aaron Phipps, who si

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

MSGA’s Research, Education, and Endowment Foundation (REEF) is accepting applications to send one participant to the Young Cattlemen’s Conference tour, held June 2-9. The tour exposes young cattlemen to all areas of the cattle industry ranging from industry structure to issues management, from production research to marketing, and is designed to develop leadership qualities. Many past attendees from Montana have described this tour as a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.” (Including last year’s participant, Tater Erickson who is pictured at right with Melville,

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Montana Stockgrowers and Farm Bureau to hold joint legislative conference for young farmers and ranchers

Helena - The Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Young Stockgrowers and Montana Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers will meet in Helena, Jan. 24-25, for the 2011 “Calling on the Capitol.” This year’s event is the first joint conference for the associations. “MSGA and MFBF are looking forward to bringing young farmers and ranchers to Helena to see the 62nd session of the Montana Legislature,” said Peter Taylor, chair of MFBF’s Young Farmers and Ranchers. “Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with the leaders of both associations, the legislature and our state agencies,” said Charlie Rein, chair of MSGA’s Young Stockgrowers. The “Calling on the Capitol” will feature visits with President of the Senate, Senator Jim Peterson (R-Buffalo); Speaker of the House, Representative Mike Milburn (R-Cascade); a tour of the Capitol; meetings wit

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MSGA’s 126th Annual Convention and Trade Show draws over 600 participants

The 126th Annual Montana Stockgrowers Association Convention and Trade Show, held at the Crowne Plaza hotel and MetraPark in Billings, Dec. 16-18, drew over 600 participants from across the state. “We had another great convention this year,” said Tom Hougen, MSGA’s out-going president. “With the great cattle market we’ve had, everyone seemed to be in high spirits. We had one of the most robust policy discussions I can remember, developing policy on a wide variety of issues that affect family ranches in Montana. Convention attendees also got to enjoy our top-notch trade show and the Chase Hawks Rough Stock Rodeo.” Here are some of the highlights: -Walter “Watty” Taylor, of Kirby was elected President; Tucker Hughes of Stanford was elected 1st Vice President; and Gene Curry of Valier was elected 2nd Vice President. - Je

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Department of Livestock reschedules DSA meeting in Twin Bridges

The Montana Department of Livestock’s public meeting on the Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) administrative rule, originally scheduled for November 23, has been rescheduled for 3 p.m., January 4 at the Twin Bridges Fairgrounds. Public comment on the proposed rule has been extended to January 10, and the Board of Livestock will consider the rule at its meeting on January 17-18 in Helena. For additional information about the meeting or DSA, please refer to the department’s web site at http://liv.mt.gov.

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MSGA and MCW Annual Convention and Trade Show 2010

Video highlights from this year's convention, trade show, and Chase Hawks Memorial Rodeo. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSTxB7OGWys?fs=1&w=425&h=344]

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MSGA Changes Leadership

Introduction of MSGA's President Watty Taylor:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ews2hpDoY_Q&fs=1&hl=en_US]

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MSGA intern completes honors video project on Montana ranchers

During the summer of 2010, MSGA was fortunate to have Lauren Chase from the University of Iowa as our multimedia communications intern. Lauren spent the summer traveling to ranches across the state and putting together short video profiles of ranchers and informative issues-oriented features. This video is Lauren's honor's project for her broadcast journalism and anthropology majors. It highlights family ranches in Montana with interviews and footage of summer ranching life. The ranchers discuss their desire to pass the ranch on to the next generation, and the environmental and economic issues they deal with on a day-to-day basis. Also, a wildlife biologist from the USDA's NRCS, discusses the importance of ranchers for supporting biodiversity on rangeland in Montana. Congratulations to Lauren for completing this culminating project from a fantastic summer. Thanks to MSGA's Research, Education, and Endowment Foundation for funding the internship. Below are Parts 1 and 2. (If you can't s

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2010 MSGA/MCW Annual Convention will have something for everyone

This year’s Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) and Montana CattleWomen (MCW) Annual Convention and Trade Show, Dec. 16-18 in Billings, will have something for everyone. The Convention will offer opportunities for attendees to learn tips to improve their ranch or business, find out about new products available for their animal health and ranch supply needs at the Trade Show, and for members to weigh in on policy discussions. Members who attend Annual Convention will be eligible to win a 2011 Ford Super Duty truck from the Montana Ford Stores and receive discounted tickets to the Chase Hawks Memorial Association Rough Stock Rodeo on Saturday, Dec. 18. The MSGA/MCW Annual Convention will provide excellent educational opportunities on a number of topics important to Montana’s ranching families. Travis Choat, PhD with Elanco Animal Health will kick off the Opening General Session on Friday, Dec. 17 with a presentation ab

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MSGA Statement on Senator Baucus’ Efforts in U.S.-Korea Beef Negotiations

The following is a statement from Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) Executive Vice President, Errol Rice, on Senator Baucus’ efforts in the U.S.-Korea beef negotiations this week:“MSGA would like to commend Senator Max Baucus for his efforts this week to ensure more access for U.S. and Montana beef into South Korea’s marketplace as a condition to ratifying a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.MSGA’s mission is to protect and enhance Montana ranch families’ ability to grow and deliver safe, healthy and environmentally wholesome beef to the world. While Montana’s family ranchers are pleased with the recovery in beef exports to Korea that has occurred under the U.S.-Korea beef agreement since the market re-opened in the summer of 2008, we are confident that the high quality and safety of our beef deserves more recognition by many trading partners, including South Korea. We greatly appreciate Senator Baucus’ efforts on this important and

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Rangeland Livestock Production: Surviving Difficult Economic Times meeting to be held Nov. 19 in Great Falls

The International Mountain Section (IMS) of the Society for Range Management (SRM) is hosting a day-long meeting focused on Rangeland Livestock Production: Surviving Difficult Economic Times on November 19th, 2010 at the Great Falls Hampton Inn. The International Mountain Section of SRM is one geographic section that encompasses western Montana and Alberta. IMS is hosting this session as part of their Fall Meeting, which rotates back and forth between western Montana and Alberta. The day-long program will focus on rangeland management strategies that have aided ranchers in surviving the fluctuating economy. The program will include university researchers, Extension personnel, and Montana ranchers. Extension personnel and university researchers will provide insight into the economic benefits of managing pastures in fair to good range condition versus excellent condition, the sociological effects of the economy on rural

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Montana Stockgrowers Association actively pursuing congressional wolf delisting solution

Helena - The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) recently announced its support of several congressional bills seeking to remove the gray wolf from the list of endangered species and return management to the state of Montana.“The bottom line for us is to get wolves off the endangered species list so ranchers can have more tools to deal with increasing wolf populations and livestock depredations,” said Errol Rice, executive vice president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “We feel this is the opportune time for Congress to gain momentum on this important issue, now and into the next Congress.”In late October, MSGA joined thirteen livestock groups in writing a letter of support for H.R. 6028 sponsored by Congressman Edwards D-TX, with 14 co-sponsors including Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg, and S. 3919 sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch R-UT along with four co-sponsors, which seek to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list. Other

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MSGA Encourages MT Voters to Vote “No” on I-161

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhLVKNtlx9Q&fs=1&hl=en_US]Melville, Mont. rancher, Chuck Rein, explains why Montana Ballot Initiative I-161, which seeks to abolish all outfitter-sponsored hunting licenses, is a bad initiative. On Novemember 2, please vote "No" on I-161. Click here for MSGA's Statement on I-161 and a history of outfitter-sponsored licences.

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Ranching For Profit Workshops offered in Dillon, Livingston and Red Lodge in November

The Western Sustainability Exchange is hosting three workshops on ranching profitability. Learn the three “secrets” for increasing profit and how to use production, economic and financial benchmarks to identify profit drivers and “Dead Wood.” You’ll find out what you can do to improve your triple bottom line.Dave Pratt, who has taught the Ranching For Profit School for almost 20 years, will discuss core Ranching For Profit concepts at each of these workshops. He will introduce you to the three secrets for increasing profit and show you a simple method for “crunching” the numbers. Dave will introduce you to several simple but powerful benchmarks for comparing key performance indicators on your ranch to other profitable ranches. You will also learn how to increase profit by structuring your operation to be in sync with natural cycles.The Ranching For Profit School has helped thousands of ranchers on four

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MT Department of Livestock Sets Meetings on Designated Surveillance Area

The Montana Department of Livestock will hold a series of public meetings about codifying into administrative rule the official order that created the Designated Surveillance Area for brucellosis.Meetings have been scheduled for: · Livingston – 3 p.m., November 9, Livingston Public Library. · Three Forks – 3 p.m., November 10, Headwaters Livestock Auction. · Twin Bridges – 3 p.m., November 23, Twin Bridges Fairgrounds.The Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) was created by official order in January 2010 when its predecessor, the Brucellosis Action Plan, expired. Both the Action Plan and DSA were created and implemented to help the state regain and maintain its brucellosis-free status after the disease was found twice in a 12-month period (May 2007, May 2008).State Veterinarian Dr. Marty Zaluski said codifying the DSA order into rule appears appropriate “given the long-term challenges of managing brucellosis.”“The official order

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2010 Montana Stockgrowers Association convention to be held in conjunction with Chase Hawks Memorial Rough Stock Rodeo

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) will hold its 126th Annual Convention and Trade Show at the Crowne Plaza hotel and the MetraPark in Billings, Dec. 16-18. This year, the convention will be held in conjunction with the Chase Hawks Memorial Association’s 16th Annual Rough Stock Rodeo on Dec. 18 with rodeo cowboys and rough stock coming directly from the just-concluded National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Proceeds from the rodeo benefit the Chase Hawks Memorial Association Community Crisis Fund which provides short-term assistance to families facing an immediate crisis. Discounted tickets for the rodeo and other events will be available for MSGA members.“We are very excited to be partnering with the Chase Hawks Memorial Associatio

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Giving Back Foundation online auction fundraiser now open

The Giving Back Foundation (GBF) is holding its first annual online auction fundraiser. The Giving Back Foundation, founded by singer/songwriter T.J. Casey, is based on the unchanging, unwritten cowboy code of neighbor helping neighbor, and is dedicated to America’s ag producers. “Mother Nature makes no provisions for the blood, sweat and tears farmers and ranchers put into keeping an outfit together,” said Casey. “When nature’s devastation hits, it can wipe that operation out completely. That’s where the Giving Back Foundation can help. We don’t want anyone leaving agriculture due to a natural disaster.”In order to have reserves for potential needs, the Giving Back Foundation has a number of items on its website, wwww.ranchersandfarmers.org, up for auction including a limited edition Martin DX 175th Anniversary Guitar donated by Martin Guitar. The DX 175th Anniversary Model is a Limited Edition with anniversary artwork created by artist Robert Goetzl. The inspired graphics

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September 24, 2010 – Friday Video Update with Errol Rice

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ-ETuFpAEA&fs=1&hl=en_US]In this week's MSGA Friday Video Update, Executive Vice President, Errol Rice, discusses MSGA's recent trip to Washington, D.C. to discuss the federal estate tax and the Antiquities Act with members of Congress. Rice also discusses BLM Director Robert Abbey's visit to Malta to discuss the possibility of a National Monument designation in the area, MSGA hosting a group of foreign ambassadors to encourage increased beef trade with countries like China and Japan, and the National Public Lands Council meeting in Pendleton, Oregon.

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Registration now open for the 7th Annual Young Ag Leadership Conference

Register now for the 2010 Young Ag Leadership Conference (YALC) October 1-3 at the Rock Creek Resort in Red Lodge. This unique conference—a partnership between seven 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. Confere

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Phillips County ranches, history to be featured on 2010 Governor’s Range Tour

DNRC - Ranchers in Phillips County will showcase their history and land management practices on the 2010 Governor’s Range Tour, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 14, and Wednesday, Sept. 15, in Malta, Mont.The first day of the tour will head to south Phillips County, stopping at a vantage point where five ranchers will discuss range management practices. Craig French, chairman of the Phillips County Range Committee, will open with an introduction on the tour theme, “Preserving Our Prairie Neighborhood.” Vicki Olson of the Double O Ranch will follow with a talk on homesteads, family roots and the history of land use. Next will be Leo Barthelmess of Barthelmess Ranch, Corp., discussing grazing management, recovering the land and the Taylor Grazing Act. Bill French of French Farming, Inc., will discuss water spreading, water rights and the importance of hay for a healthy range. The stop will wrap up with Kevin Koss of Mule Tracks Cattle Co. and a talk on diversification an

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Montana Rancher Profile: Mannix Brothers Ranch

MSGA's manager of communications Ariel Overstreet and multimedia intern Lauren Chase interviewed the multi-generational Mannix Family in Helmville, Montana. It takes most of the members of three-brother ranch to gather cattle, operate balers, manage irrigation, prepare meals, and all other ranch tasks. Even though there is always work to be done, David Mannix says that doing it as a family is priceless. This video is brought to you by MSGA's Research, Education, and Endowment Foundation.

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MSGA’s Research, Education, and Endowment Foundation

Dusty Hahn, chairman of the Montana Stockgrowers Association's Research, Education, and Endowment Foundation (REEF), explains what the foundation is and why it's an important entity to help educate young people about the beef industry. For more information about REEF and to find out ways to support the foundation, please contact MSGA at (406) 442-3420 or visit us online: www.mtbeef.org. This video is brought to you by MSGA's REEF.

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Mannix Brothers Ranch – Helmville, MT

 MSGA's manager of communications Ariel Overstreet and multimedia intern Lauren Chase interviewed the multi-generational Mannix Family in Helmville, Montana. It takes most of the members of three-brother ranch to gather cattle, operate balers, manage irrigation, prepare meals, and all other ranch tasks. Even though there is always work to be done, D

Montana Stockgrowers Statement on Wolf Decision

Errol Rice, executive vice president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, comments on the August 5, 2010 decision by Judge Donald Molloy to return the Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf to the Endangered Species List. MSGA is disappointed in the decision but focused on efforts to ensure ranchers have the tools they need to protect their cattle from ever-increasing wolf depredations. MSGA is also working to press the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expedite the process of achieving the successful delisting of wolves.

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Ranchers Care: Low-stress Cattle Handling with Ed and David Fryer

Ed and David Fryer, managers of the Castle Mountain Ranch in White Sulphur Springs, Mont., volunteer their time teaching other ranchers their low-stress cattle handling techniques at Beef Quality Assurance trainings across Montana. In this video, Ed & David talk about their techniques and why careful cattle care is important. This video is brought to you by Montana Beef Quality Assurance, the Montana Beef Council, the Montana Stockgrowers Association, and MSGA's Research, Education, and Endowment Foundation.

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Montana Rancher Profile: Dusty Hahn

MSGA's intern Lauren Chase talked with Montana rancher Dusty Hahn about the importance of water management on ranch land. He also shared his reasons for working on the ranch, explaining why he loves the hard work. This video is brought to you by MSGA's Research, Education, and Endowment Foundation.

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Montana Rancher Profile: Fred & Linda Finke

MSGA's multimedia intern Lauren Chase found out what working with family means to Fred and Linda Finke of North Country Quarter Horses in Big Sandy, Montana. They also talked about how their ranch is different from others in the state and why their goal is "to be in sync with Mother Nature." This video is brought to you by MSGA's Research, Education, and Endowment Foundation.

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Montana Rancher Profile: Bob Sitz

MSGA's multimedia intern Lauren Chase interviewed Montana rancher, Bob Sitz of Sitz Angus Ranch. Bob and his brother Jim have ranches headquartered in Harrison and Dillon, Montana. Sitz Angus is able to stay successful even though they are faced with a multitude of issues ranging from the brucellosis disease, logging, wolves, and water quality. This video is brought to you by MSGA's Research, Education, and Endowment Foundation.

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Beef Quality Assurance Program Helping Ranchers across Montana

2010 is shaping up to be another successful year for the Montana Beef Quality Assurance Program (BQA). With several educational “Twilight Trainings” across the state this summer, many Montana ranchers have learned valuable tools to ensure that their cattle are handled in a low-stress manner—which benefits not only the cattle, but also the ranch’s crew and its bottom line.“BQA is all about increasing beef demand by making sure all beef is produced with the best management practices possible,” said Clint Peck, BQA director for Montana.Twilight TrainingsAttendance is up at the BQA Twilight Training sessions so far this year. To date, nine BQA training sessions have been held across the state from Dillon to Sidney. Five more sessions are scheduled through the middle of September.“We’re already at double the participation from last year and we’re only half way through the season,” Peck said. “Through these BQA sessions we’re addressing cont

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Fred & Linda Finke – North Country Quarter Horses

MSGA's multimedia intern Lauren Chase interviewed Fred and Linke Finke who own North Country Quarter Horses in Big Sandy, Montana. Fred is on the board of directors for the Stockgrowers and has beautiful land near the Bear Paw Mountains. Fred and Linda have a daughter, Grace, who is an excellent ranch hand and swimmer.

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The Weak Ones Turned Back, The Cowards Never Started: A Century of Ranch…

The Montana Stockgrowers Association captured many of the stories of Montana's centennial ranches in a commemorative book to celebrate the association's 125th Anniversary, "The Weak Ones Turned Back, The Cowards Never Started: A Century of Ranching in Montana." The Wills family in Potomac, Montana is one of 142 families featured in this book. To purchase your own copy, please call MSGA: (406) 442-3420 or visit us online: www.mtbeef.org.This video is brought to you by MSGA's Research, Education, and Endowment Foundation.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92K9GHPdNAE&hl=en_US&fs=1]

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Montana Rancher Profile: Jerry Jones

MSGA's multimedia intern Lauren Chase interviewed Montana rancher Jerry Jones. He discussed his family's ranching history, reasons why he loves what he does, and his hopes for the industry in the future. Jerry lives in Kirby and is on the Montana Beef Council. Anyone who knows Jerry will say that he has a very fun personality.This video is brought to you by MSGA's Research, Education, and Endowment Foundation.

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Hahn Ranch – Townsend, MT

MSGA's multimedia intern Lauren Chase spent some time with the chairman of the Stockgrowers' Research, Education, and Endowment Foundation's (REEF) Dusty Hahn. His family owns a ranch south of Helena in Townsend. Dusty discussed the importance of water management as a natural resource. To see more photos from Lauren's time on the ranch, click here

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Yellowstone Extends Public Comment Period On Bison Vaccination Proposal

YNP - Yellowstone National Park is extending the public comment period on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which looks at vaccinating bison against brucellosis without capturing or handling the animals.The purpose of remote vaccination of bison inside the park is to reduce the brucellosis infection rate in order to increase tolerance for bison on historic and essential winter range outside the park in Montana when cattle are not present. The park believes the most logical method for remote delivery of the vaccine is to use a compressed air rifle to deliver an absorbable projectile containing the vaccine.The initial 60-day review and comment period was set to end on July 26. Due to public interest and concerns about uncertainties disclosed in the Draft EIS, the National Park Service has decided to extend the comment period for an additional 60 days.The Draft EIS and an electronic form to submit comments on the Internet can be foun

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Statewide OCV requirements to be decided at July 27 Board of Livestock meeting

The Montana Board of Livestock will vote on a proposed Statewide OCV Requirement rule at its July 27 meeting in Helena. The proposed rule is as follows:Vaccination for the prevention of brucellosis of female cattle and domestic bison utilized for breeding or grazingPurpose1. Improve the immunity of Montana’s cattle and domestic bison breeding herd to brucellosis.Vaccination of female cattle and domestic bison utilized for breeding or grazing purposes1. Upon change of ownership, all sexually intact female cattle and domestic bison intended to be utilized for breeding or grazing purposes within the State of Montana shall be official calfhood vaccinates.2. Sexually intact female cattle over 12 months of age and sexually intact female domestic bison over 18 months of age that are not OCV:a. May move to a recognized slaughtering establishment,b. May move to a state or nation that will accept such animals not vaccinat

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MSGA Friday Video Update with Errol Rice

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zPOPHbQBII&hl=en_US&fs=1]In this week's MSGA Friday Video Update, Executive Vice President, Errol Rice, discusses the federal estate tax, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health's hearing on the use of antibiotics in livestock, MSGA's upcoming meeting with the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association and upcoming Beef Quality Assurance training sessions.

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MSGA investigates State’s deal making in proposed Spotted Dog property purchase

On July 14, 2010 MSGA attended a public hearing in Deer Lodge hosted by representatives of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MT FWP) to hear details about the apparently already “done deal” Spotted Dog land purchase of 27,616 acres between Avon and Deer Lodge. The MSGA office has received numerous phone calls from ranchers concerned about this proposal and the process to purchase this property. Let us relay the facts as we know them.On June 29, 2010, MT FWP released a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) to acquire the 27,616 acre Spotted Dog property. This proposed land acquisition would include 10,261 acres of leased DNRC lands. MT FWP intends to designate the combined nearly 38,000 acres as a Wildlife Management Area.The proposed purchase price of the property is $15.2 million with an additional 5-year operation and management cost of $1.2 million, and an approximate $150,000 for the state grazing leases. Currently the Spotted Dog property is owned

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Ed & David Fryer BQA at Castle Mountain Ranch

MSGA's Manager of Communications Ariel Overstreet, multimedia intern Lauren Chase, and Director of Montana Beef Quality Assurance Clint Peck visited Castle Mountain Ranch in White Sulphur Springs. Ed and David Fryer, a father-son team, volunteer to teach ranchers and the public how to properly handle cattle while moving them. This program is called Beef Quality Assurance and training sessions are held throughout the year in various locations around the state. To see more photos, check out MSGA's Facebook page:

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A Tribute to the Stockman

I read this poem today on another blog, Buzzard's Beat, which is written by Brandi Buzzard, a grad student at Kansas State focusing on Animal Behavior and Welfare. To read her post, click here. I couldn't resist sharing it.A Tribute to the Stockmanby H.W. MumfordBehold the Stockman! Artist and Artisan.He may be polished, or a diamond in the rough-but always a gem.Whose devotion to his animals is second only to his love of God and family.Whose gripping affection is tempered only by his inborn sense of the true proportion of things.Who cheerfully braves personal discomfort to make sure his livestock suffer not.To him there is rhythm in the clatter of the horse’s hoof, music in the bleating of the sheep and in the lowing of the herd.His approaching footsteps call forth the affectionate whinny

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MSGA launches new video “Rancher Stewardship: Protecting Montana’s Prairie” online

Helena, Mont. - The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) has launched a new video to educate the public about how Montana’s family ranchers care for the environment, provide wildlife habitat and maintain lasting rural communities. The video, “Rancher Stewardship: Protecting Montana's Prairie,” is set in South Phillips County, near the hub of Malta, Montana, where ranchers have called the prairie home for over 100 years. There, ranchers have created a ranch and wildlife haven by working and living in harmony with nature.“We are just thrilled to introduce this video because it really brings these ranchers’ love for the land, their families and their community to the forefront,” said Tom Hougen, MSGA president. “Their dedication to ensuring that the ranching heritage and superb prairie wildlife habitat can be passed on to the next generation is inspiring.”“Rancher Stewardship: Protecting Montana's Prairie” features ranchers Vicki Olson of the Double O R

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Rancher Stewardship: Protecting Montana’s Prairie

In South Phillips County, near the hub of Malta, Montana, ranchers have called the prairie home for over 100 years. Here, ranchers have created a ranch and wildlife haven by working and living in harmony with nature. In this video, ranchers discuss the importance of raising their families here, developing innovative ranch management practices, working in cooperation with each other and building a lasting community to protect these prairielands. Biologists and conservationists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service also discuss the importance of ranchers in sustaining this diverse ecosystem and the wildlife species it supports. This video is brought to you by the Montana Stockgrowers Association's Research, Education and Endowment Foundation.

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MSGA’s President Tom Hougen – Melstone, MT

MSGA's media intern Lauren Chase spent two days at the Hougen Ranch in Melstone, MT. This ranch belongs to MSGA's president, Tom Hougen. During her stay, she learned how to bale hay, trailed a cattle drive, and saw quite the lightning storm. To see more photos, check out our Facebook page by clicking here.

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Sitz Angus Ranch Cattle Drive – June 2010

MSGA's media intern Lauren Chase visited Sitz Angus Ranch in Harrison, Montana. She was able to take photos during Sitz's cattle drive to the summer grazing pastures south of Ennis. It was also her first time on horseback and she loved it. To see more photos, check out our Facebook page by clicking

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Wills Cattle Co. – Potomac, MT

Last week, MSGA's media intern, Lauren Chase, had the opportunity to travel NW of Helena to the tiny town of Potomac, MT. I interviewed the Wills Family, of Wills Cattle Co. who own a ranch just outside of town. They shared with me their family's history in the area and talked about what ranching means to them. Before this trip, I hadn't been to a ranch in Montana where timber was one of the prominent features. The trees were beautiful and the cattle seemed to enjoy the shade and scattered sun rays, and I felt as if I was in a dream. This trip yet again establishes just how pretty Montana is, how nice the people are, and how important ranching is to the nation. Check out some photos from my interview on Montana Stockgrowers Ass

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June 24, 2010 – Errol Rice Comments on Double Property Taxation Initiative at Capitol

On June 24, 2010, Montana Stockgrowers Association's Executive Vice President Errol Rice spoke at the Montana Capitol about MSGA's support of CI-105. This amendment would prevent double taxation for property owners. CI-105 received enough signatures and will be on the November ballot.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVxe3c2gOrM&hl=en_US&fs=1&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999]

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Importance of Montana’s Cattle to the Nation

MSGA's media intern Lauren Chase, interviewed her grandfather, David Dohnalek. He was a farmer in Iowa his entire life. Enjoying being retired, David and his wife Barb, drove to Montana to see Lauren. He shared with her the reason why Iowa farmers bought cattle from Montana and why agriculture is important for the nation.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJigzvVdLoU&hl=en_US&fs=1&color1=0x006699&color2=0x54abd6]

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June 18, 2010 – MSGA Friday Video Update with Errol Rice

This week, Executive Vice President of MSGA, Errol Rice, talks about the successful Mid-Year Meeting in Dillon, Montana, MSGA-sponsored Range Days, an open house about bison brucellosis vaccination, and an amendment that could change the Antiquities Act. Watch the video update to find out more.

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Mid-Year Meeting Parade 2010

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UVekBjP_To&hl=en_US&fs=1&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6]

Leaders, Legends and Legacies Football Camp to be held July 9-11

MSGA's Executive Vice President and Montana State University Football alumnus, Errol Rice, will participate in this camp as a coach.The Leaders, Legends and Legacies Football Camp is gearing up for its 3rd annual camp July 9-11 in Ekalaka, Mont. The camp is an all-inclusive nonprofit event which is free to all Montana high school football athletes who register to attend. This exceptional program focuses on strength and conditioning, nutrition, football fundamentals, personal character development, overcoming challenges and developing a healthy self esteem in both life and in football.“This camp was designed with our future in mind and we are giving young men the tools, direction, discipline and motivation they need to become Montana’s future leaders in many different forms—coaches, teachers, businessmen, fathers and neighbors,” said Ty O’Connor, the camp’s organizer and former All American defensive lineman for Montana State University. “Our goals are t

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Mid-Year meeting photos posted

Hi all. Photos from 2010's Mid-Year meeting have been posted to Facebook. Even if you do not have a Facebook account, you can still view them by clicking this link: Mid-Year Photos.Let us know what you thought of the meeting by leaving comments either on this blog or on Facebook. Enjoy!

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Photo slideshow from South Phillips County, Montana

Click the play button to see a selection of photos from Lauren Chase's time with ranchers in South Phillips County, Montana. You can view the same photos and read their captions by clicking this link to Facebook. You can also see this slideshow full screen by clicking any place in the box and selecting "view full screen."

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What Lauren learned while spending time with ranchers in South Phillips Co. Montana

Written by media intern Lauren Chase MALTA---After spending one week in South Phillips County Montana, I've come away with a lot of things, but there's one that is the most important: the importance of agriculture producers to this country. I grew up in Iowa, a state known for corn and p

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Last day to pre-register for Mid-Year; Great lineup of speakers scheduled for Friday, June 11

With MSGA’s Mid-Year meeting fast approaching, today is the last day to pre-register. (Click here to see the event schedule and registration form.) We have an outstanding line up of speakers and discussions set for Friday’s Opening General Session and Committee meetings.Jim Peterson, a Buffalo, Mont. rancher and chairman of the U.S. Meat Export Federation will keynote the Opening General Session which begins at 8 a.m. on Friday, June 11. Peterson will discuss the outlook for beef exports this year. (Click here to for a preview of Peterson’s comments with an audio file of Peterson discussing the recent USMEF Board of Directors Meeting.) Errol Rice, MSGA’s executive vice president, and Ariel Overstreet, MSGA’s manager of communications, will also discuss “MSGA’s Issues and Media Response for the 21st Century: Embracing

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MSGA Friday Video Update with Errol Rice – President’s “Great Outdoors Initiative”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQKIeS66ppM&hl=en_US&fs=1&]In this week's MSGA Friday Video Update, Errol Rice, MSGA's Executive Vice President, discusses recent meetings about President Obama's "Great Outdoors Initiative." MSGA is encouraging the federal government to include ranchers in discussions about conservation initiatives. MSGA has emphasized the Undaunted Stewardship program as an example an innovative partnership that helps conserve working ranchlands. To learn more visit www.undauntedstewardship.montana.edu/. Rice also details some of the speakers and discussions that will take place at MSGA's Mid-Year meeting next week in Dillon, Mont.

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Court rejects Montana ranchers’ plea for bison management

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilxQEAh-8pg&hl=en_US&fs=1&] This afternoon, District Judge John Brown in Bozeman rejected the plea of Montana ranchers to order proper enforcement of the IBMP by the state of Montana. In this video, Errol Rice, Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, responds to the ruling and discusses MSGA's next steps in addressing the complicated bison and brucellosis issue.

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***RSVP by 10 p.m. TONIGHT*** Public Listening Sessions to be held on the President’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, June 2

There will be three listening sessions on the President's America's Great Outdoors Initiative in Bozeman, Helena, and Missoula, next Wednesday, June 2 from 9-11 a.m. MSGA will attend the Helena listening session, if you are unable to attend, please let us know if you would like us to ubmit any comments for you, or see below for directions to submit comments directly. Here is the info we received on the listening sessions: On April 16, at the White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors, President Obama signed a memorandum establishing the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to develop a conservation agenda worthy of the 21st century and to reconnect Americans with our great outdoors. The President understands that protecting and restoring the lands and waters that we love and reconnecting people to the outdoors must happen at the local level.Therefore, President Obama directed the principal leaders of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to travel

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Meet Lauren

Hi all! My name is Lauren Chase and I am from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I’m finishing up my final year at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Go Hawks! I have a double major in journalism and anthropology and a minor in Spanish. This summer, I am the media intern for the Montana Stockgrowers Association. You’re probably thinking: What’s a girl from Iowa going to do to help Montanan ranchers? I am here to help tell your stori

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MSGA Friday Video Update with Errol Rice

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-En6KUIdQhU&hl=en_US&fs=1&]In this week's MSGA Friday Video Update, Errol Rice, MSGA's Executive Vice President, discusses the complex issue of brucellosis, the Designated Surveillance Area, and MSGA's efforts to move forward to develop a collaborative strategy to address brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Errol also invites all Montana's cattle ranchers to attend MSGA's Mid-Year meeting , June 10-12 in Dillon, at the University of Montana-Western campus, especially the June 11 meeting of the Cattle Health Committee, which will dedicate an entire afternoon session to the discussion of brucellosis.

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MSGA, Montana Ford Stores team up to give one lucky MSGA member a 2011 Ford F-250 truck

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) is excited to announce that the Montana Ford Stores is continuing its partnership with MSGA, designating Ford “The Official Truck of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.”“We make a great team because ranchers rely on quality, dependable trucks that can hold up to the demands of a working ranch,” said Tom Hougen, MSGA president. “This year we are very excited to announce that one lucky member will drive home from our annual convention with full ownership of a 2011 Ford F-250.”The truck is a silver 2011 model F-250 4x4 XLT Premium featuring 85 more horsepower and better fuel efficiency than the 2010 model, a sync-voice activated system, LCD productivity screen, block heater, 5th wheel hitch prep, and power scoping trailer mirrors.To be eligible to win the 2011 Ford F-250, you must be current MSGA member, fill out an entry form, and be present at annual convention in December when the truck winner will be dra

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Montana Stockgrowers Association inducted into Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame

The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center (MCHF&WHC) recently announced the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) as a winner of the 2010 Legacy Award. MSGA, an association that has advocated for Montana’s ranching families since 1884, joined 23 other historical figures as the Class of 2010 in the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. The induction honors MSGA for its notable contributions to Montana’s Western heritage.“It is very fitting that the Montana Stockgrowers Association has been nominated and elected by their peers to receive this honor,” said Aaron Lyles, Director of Finance for the MCHF&WHC. “For 126 years the MSGA has worked to strengthen Montana agriculture and, i

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Board of Livestock discusses OCV proposal, Designated Surveillance Area concerns

MSGA attended the Board of Livestock (BOL) meeting May 17 in Bozeman at the Diagnostic Laboratory. The highlights of the meeting included discussions of the proposed mandatory statewide official calfhood vaccination (OCV) rule and responding to requests from the legislature’s Economic Affairs Interim Committee about the Designated Surveillance Area for brucellosis. The Department of Livestock (DOL) compiled a list of comments from information sessions and the comment period held for the proposed OCV rule. The board reviewed the comments and discussed how to move forward. State Veterinarian Dr. Marty Zaluski emphasized that although there was a lot of discord in the comments he received, one thing everyone seemed to agree on was that the breeding herd should be vaccinated. He offered three ways to move forward, proceed with the proposal for mandatory statewide OCV, drop it entirely, or create a new proposal to ensure that the state’s breeding herd is 100% vaccinated. Dr. Zalu

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Youth Range Camp Applications Available

Applications are now available for the 2010 Montana Youth Range Camp. This year’s camp will be held the week of June 28-July 2 at the Lion’s Sunshine Camp near the town of Elliston, Mont., and is open to all youth ages 12-18.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 opportunities for fun and recreation. Wildlife educator Vince Yannone will visit the campers with live animals and excellent stories. Campers will also have the opportunity to see Ophir Cave and visit with Montana FWP employees about lions and bears. Also planned are tours of the Grant Kohrs Ranch, the hi

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Board of Livestock to meet in Bozeman, May 17 & 18

MSGA will be in attendance at the Montana Board of Livestock meeting Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, May 17 & 18, in Bozeman. Action items include a review of compiled comments from the public input sessions on official calfhood vaccination for brucellosis, a response to the Economic Affairs Interim Committee on a working group's recommendations on the Designated Surveillance area for brucellosis and a discussion of a written attorney's opinion on brand inspector involvement in enforcing the DSA. Waded Cruzado, Montana State University's new president, will also address the board. Click here to see the full agenda. Follow us live on Twitter for regular updates from the meeting.

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Tester announces Treasure State Export Seminar set for June 3 in Billings

Yesterday Senator Jon Tester announced his Treasure State Export Seminar, a daylong event in Billings to create jobs and boost the state’s economy by expanding opportunities to sell Montana goods and services to customers in other countries.“There’s a goldmine of opportunity for Montana manufacturers, service providers, farmers and ranchers,” Tester said. “A lot of folks don’t export because they’re not familiar with the resources out there to help make the process easy. I want to make sure they have the tools they need to open the door to new markets, new opportunities and new jobs.”The Treasure State Export Seminar will feature various workshops and speakers, including a keynote address from Fred Hochberg, the chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The Bank is an independent, self-funded federal agency that provides loan guarantees and insurance for businesses interested in exporting goods and services to other countries.The Tr

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MSGA’s Friday Video Update with Errol Rice

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARFndOh14wE&hl=en_US&fs=1&]In this week's MSGA Friday Video Update, Errol Rice, MSGA's Executive Vice President, discusses the wild ride of the stock market this week and its effects on cattle futures, and MSGAs meeting with Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock about MSGAs concern in regards to the EPAs Greenhouse Gas Endangerment ruling and our perspective on the cattle marketing and competition issues being addressed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Justice. Errol also announces an exciting change to our annual convention this December.

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MSGA to reprint book “The Weak Ones Turned Back, The Cowards Never Started: A Century of Ranching in Montana”

The Board of Directors of the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) recently approved a second printing of the association’s popular book “The Weak Ones Turned Back, The Cowards Never Started: A Century of Ranching in Montana.” The book was compiled in 2009 to celebrate MSGA’s 125th Anniversary and features 142 Montana ranches 100 years of age or older. At the time of the first printing, the ranches included in the book were all working livestock operations that had been in the same family and in the same location as when they were established over a century ago.The stories and photographs of these ranches comprise 472 pages in this commemorative hard-bound book, edited by Linda Grosskopf and Nancy Morrison. The cover features a JK Ralston

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MSGA to hold Mid-Year meeting in Dillon, June 10-12

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) will hold its Mid-Year meeting, June 10-12 in Dillon. Mid-Year is one of the two major meetings MSGA holds each year. MSGA will be looking “Beyond the Barbwire” as it meets to discuss the issues facing Montana ranching families and set interim policy to guide the association through the rest of the year. MSGA will also celebrate ranching in Montana with a parade, ranch tour and its popular Cow Pasture Golf Scramble. This year, Mid-Year will kick off on Thursday, June 10 with meetings of the MSGA Board of Directors, the Montana Grass Conservation Commission, the Montana Public Lands Council and Montana Association of State Grazing Districts Joint Directors, and MSGA’s Research, Education and Endowment Foundation. Thursday night will feature a Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Twilight Training Session at the Beaverhead County Fairgrounds with a stockmanship clinic presented by Ed and

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MSGA’s Executive Vice President, Errol Rice, testifies on U.S. exports in Washington, D.C.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggLExEdAt44&hl=en_US&fs=1&]On Thursday, April 29, 2010, Errol Rice, the Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness in Washington, D.C. on the topic of "Doubling U.S. Exports: Are U.S. Sea Ports Ready for the Challenge?"Rice's Testimony emphasized the importance of improvign the country's seaport infrastructure as part of creating an efficient, techologically advanced port-to-market distribution systems for U.S. agricultural exports. Central to Rice's testimony was the importance of exports to Montana's family ranches."There was a time when the largest part of ranchings economic activity was domestic, but our future depends on our ability to be globally competitive," Rice said. "Ranchers must have access to the additional demand for beef from consumers that live outside

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Empty Ralgro wheels are good as cash to MSGA!

TURN THOSE WHEELS OVER! Empty Ralgro wheels are good as CASH to the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA)! Wheels for Bucks has made fundraising for MSGA easier than ever. All you need to do is save your empty Ralgro wheels and turn them over to Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health at MSGA’s Mid-Year Meeting in June or Annual Convention in December. For every 10 empty wheels received, Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health will donate one full Ralgro wheel to MSGA’s fund-raising auction.

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BQA Twilight Trainings full speed ahead

The first Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Twilight Training sessions of the spring are underway. The Twilight Training sessions are funded in part with a grant from the Montana Beef Council and are conducted by the Montana BQA team.The community-based Twilight sessions generally run from 4:00-7:30 p.m. and include low-stress cattle handling demonstrations, chute-side cattle treatment and animal care discussions, and an industry update. They include a free dinner and attending producers can become BQA certified. Hosts also have the opportunity to conduct pre-Twilight session tours of their operations.BQA Twilight Trainings scheduled to date are:-April 21 – Miles City Livestock Auction, Miles City-April 29 – Three Peaks Ranch, Pray-May 6 – Dean Welch Ranch, Roy-May 12 – Headwaters Livestock Auction, Three Forks-June 4 – Rein/Indreland Ranches, Big Timber-June 10 – MSGA Mid-Year Convention, Dillon-Aug. 12 – Blackfeet Extension

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MSGA Statement on Ballot Initiative I-161

Montana’s family ranchers and farmers take pride in providing good stewardship of their working agricultural lands, which comprise 61 million acres and 65% of the state’s land. Their land stewardship practices provide excellent wildlife habitat and help maintain healthy wildlife populations. Ranchers and farmers are an integral part of managing the state’s wildlife and provide many hunting opportunities on their private land through public hunting, private leasing and participation in programs like Block Management.Ballot initiative I-161 proposes to eliminate all outfitter-sponsored hunting licenses currently available in Montana and reallocate them to non-resident hunters through the general draw system. I-161 changes the revenue stream for Block Management and puts future funding in question.Although this initiative was put forth under the guise of improving public access to private land, MSGA believes I-161 will erode landowner/hunter relations and will crea

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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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