MSGA News

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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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Young Stockgrowers Conference to be held in Helena, Jan. 22 and 23

On Jan. 22 and 23, the Young Stockgrowers will gather in Helena for the 2009 Young Stockgrowers Conference. Held during every legislative session, the conference features a legislative training, tour of the Capitol building, interactive workshops, educational speakers, policy reviews, and meetings with legislators. On Thursday evening, Jan. 22, attendees will enjoy a social sponsored by Montana Livestock Ag Credit and participate in a dinner with some of Montana's legislative leaders and leaders from the agricultural industry. The price for the conference is $35/person and will be held at the Best Western Helena Great Northern Hotel. Applications are available at www.mtbeef.org and are due Jan. 19. The conference is sponsored by the Bank of the Rockies, Montana Livestock Ag Credit and the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Research Education and Endowment Fund. For more information, contact MSGA at 442-3420.

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MSGA’s 125th anniversary: A five star celebration “back where it all began”

Nearly 125 years ago, a group of seven men, led by Col. Thomas J. Bryan, met at the newly formed Miles City Club and created the Eastern Montana Stockgrowers Association. Later, across the state in Helena, another group of men, led by Granville Stuart, formed the Montana Stockgrowers Association. The members of these two groups decided to merge them into the one Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) that exists today.This spring, MSGA will be celebrating its 125th anniversary in Miles City, June 10-13. The 125th celebration will follow MSGA’s mid-year meetings which will take place Wednesday, June 10 through Friday morning, June 12. Thursday night will feature a joint 125th celebration with the Miles City Club. Attendees are encouraged to don period dress for an evening that will include history, music, and the traditional roast pork dinner. (In the early days, the Stockgrowers did not want to eat their inventory.)Friday morning will begin with a breakfast cel

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Press Release: Informational Meetings on Brucellosis Action Plan Scheduled

DOL - The Montana Department of Livestock will discuss its brucellosis action plan with livestock producers at a series of informational meetings in mid-January and early February.Meetings have been scheduled for Beaverhead, Carbon, Gallatin, Madison, Stillwater and Sweet Grass counties.State veterinarian Dr. Marty Zaluski said the meetings are a continuation of the department's efforts to keep livestock producers involved and informed."We want to make sure producers know exactly what the (brucellosis action) plan means for their operations," Zaluski said. "The meetings will give producers a chance to discuss the plan and ask questions."The plan, which can be viewed or downloaded and printed from MDOL's web site at http://liv.mt.gov/liv/Brucellosis/Revised%20BAP_112008.pdf, is designed to help the state regain its Brucellosis Class Free status as quickly as

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News from first day at Montana Legislature, 111th Congress convenes today

Here are some headlines after the first day of the 2009 Montana Legislature:Montana lawmakers lay out agendas for 2009 legislative sessionParties agree budget top prioritySchweitzer praises Dixon, pillories lobbyistsMT GOP asserts its messageSwearing-in ceremony includes bit of historyLegislature opens with partisanship

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Board of Livestock to meet Jan. 12-13 in Helena

The Montana Board of Livestock will meet Jan. 12 & 13 in the Scott Hart Auditorium, Scott Hart Building, 303 North Roberts St. (corner of 6th and Roberts), in Helena. On Monday, Jan. 12, the meeting is scheduled to run from 1-5 p.m., and on Tuesday, Jan. 13, the meeting will run from 8 a.m. to noon. Click here to see the agenda. Check back often as the schedule is subject to change. For more information, contact Sherry Rust at (406) 444-9321.The cattle industry seat vacated by Meg Smith at the September 2008 meeting has not been filled yet, to our knowledge, though rumor has it that current board member Jan French will be moved to fill the cattle seat and another person will be appointed to the swine industry seat. This information has not been confirmed, so we will let you know the facts as soon as we get them. During the November 2008 meeting, Brett DeBruycker of Dutton, president of the Monta

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Montana’s 61st Legislature convenes today

The 61st Legislature begins today in Helena. The Legislature meets every two years for its regular session lasting for 90 working days. This year’s session will adjourn on April 25. See below for a list of the important dates for the legislature and for links to some of the news coverage leading up to the Legislature. For more information, click on the Montana Legislative Branch website. The Montana Stockgrowers Association will be very active in the legislature this year, as always, so stay tuned for more information!Key Legislative Dates: (from the Helena Independent Record)Jan. 5 (Day 1) Opening day, with all new legislators sworn into office.Jan. 16 (Day 16) Last day for legislators to request general bills to be drafted.Jan. 24 (Day 17) Last day for legislators

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News Release: Winter Grazing Seminar Jan. 20 – 21

CHOTEAU, Mont. – Ranchers and others interested in rangeland and livestock management will want to attend the 2009 Montana Winter Grazing Seminar Jan. 20 - 21 at the Choteau Pavilion, in Choteau, Mont.“We’ve got a great lineup of speakers this year,” said Heidi Olbert, State Coordinator of the Rangeland Resources Program with the Montana Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). “We’ll cover some industry updates, take a look at animal health regulations, and offer some new twists for range management.”This year’s featured speaker is Trent Loos, whose “Loos Tales” radio show profiles the people, places and culture of rural America, finding the often-untold success stories of modern agriculture. Loos is a sixth-generation farmer from Loup City, Nebraska. To learn about Trent Loos, visit his Web site at www.loostales.com.Along with Loos, speakers on the first d

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News Release: Interagency Partners Sign Bison Adaptive Management Plan

Contacts: Al Nash, Yellowstone National Park (307) 344-2010Lyndsay Griffin, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (970) 494-7410Marna Daley, Gallatin National Forest (406) 587-6703Steve Merritt, Montana Department of Livestock (406) 444-9431Melissa Frost, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (406) 994-6931The Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) partners on Wednesday signed an Adaptive Management Plan that outlines specific goals, objectives, management actions, and measures for bison management.The IBMP is a cooperative, multi-agency effort that guides bison and brucellosis risk management in and around Yellowstone National Park. It is an adaptive plan that anticipated future adjustments based upon the best available science, research, monitoring, new information, and experience from field operations.The Adaptive Management Plan was created in response to a 2008 audit by the U.S. Government Accountabi

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News Release: FSA Offers Program for Wildlife Enhancement

Bozeman, MT – The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin signup Jan. 5, 2009 in three areas within Montana through the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program to address local wildlife conservation needs. The three areas include Blaine, Carter, Cascade, Chouteau, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Glacier, Hill, Liberty, McCone, Phillips, Pondera, Powder River, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Teton, Toole and Valley counties. Enrollment for SAFE is available under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) continuous signup. Continuous signups will automatically be accepted if all eligibility requirements are met. The practices will address wildlife habitat that can be enhanced through the restoration of eligible cropland. Individual practices for each SAFE were developed similar to CRP general signup practices. Contracts are between 10-15 years. Cost-share is available at 50 percent with an additional signing incentive payment of $10/acre/year and a practice

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2008 MSGA Convention Highlights

This year, despite sub-zero temperatures and terrible road conditions, 644 people attended the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s 124th Annual Convention and Trade Show at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana in Billings, Dec. 11-13. Below, please find some highlights from the convention: -Tom Hougen of Melstone was elected the 59th President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. -Walter “Watty” Taylor of Busby was elected 1st Vice President. He previously served as 2nd Vice President from 2006-2008. -Tucker Hughes of Stanford was elected 2nd Vice President. He served on the Board of Directors from the South Central District from 2004-2008. -New Board of Directors: Northeast District – Jeff Pattison of Glasgow Southeast District – Dean Wang of Baker South Central – Larry Berg of Judith Gap

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Young Stockgrowers plan to meet in Helena for the Young Stockgrowers Conference

On January 22nd and 23rd, the Young Stockgrowers will be convening in Helena for the 2009 Young Stockgrowers Conference. The conference is held during every legislative session and features a tour of the Capitol building, interactive workshops, educational speakers, meet with local elected legislators and review policies. The price is $35/person and will be held at the Best Western Helena Great Northern Hotel. For more information, contact MSGA at 442-3420.

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Lon and Vicki Reukauf of Cherry Creek Ranch in Terry win brand new truck at MSGA convention

Lon and Vicki Reukauf of Cherry Creek Ranch in Terry were the lucky winners of the 2008 Dodge truck given away at the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s 124th Annual Convention and Trade Show on Saturday, Dec. 13. The Reukauf’s drove away from convention with full ownership of the Dodge Cummins Diesel truck, valued at $40,000, thanks to Lithia Dodge of Billings, First Interstate Bank of Billings, Northern Ag Network, Western Ranch Supply, Pfizer Animal Health, WALCO Animal Health and MSGA. The drawing was open to all MSGA members and required presence at the Grand Finale Banquet to win. The banquet crowd of 450 people roared its approval when Lon’s name was called.“I didn’t even know they were giving

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124th Annual Convention begins today

MSGA's 124th Annual Convention and Trade Show has gotten off to a great start with business meetings today at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana in Billings. Meetings include the MSGA Board of Directors, MSGA's Research Education and Endowment Foundation, the Young Stockgrowers Committee, the Grass Conservation Commission, Montana Hereford Association, the Montana Public Lands Council/Montana Association of State Grazing Districts joint board meeting, the Steer of Merit Committee, and the Montana Cattle Feeders. Other events include the Young Stockgrower's Social, a SimSeminar with the American Simmental Association, the MaPa 200 Club Reception, Young Stockgrowers Dinner, and the "Has Beens" Dinner. Tomorrow, registration will start at 6:30 a.m. followed by the Billings Chamber of Commerce Pancake Breakfast. At 8 a.m. the Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Montana CattleWomen Opening General Session will kick off. Commi

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Greenhouse Gas COW TAX

Recently I have been traveling Montana to many of MSGA's local Stockgrowers Affiliate meetings. One question that was consistently posed to me time and time again was the issue about the Evironmenatl Protection Agency (EPA) imposing a tax on Green House Gas emmissions from cattle. I am posting a statement that came out of EPA just yesterday regarding this issue.EPA’s Statement on “taxing” livestock GHG emissions:“It is unfortunate that recent media articles have incorrectly reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to tax emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from livestock.EPA welcomes public comments from all interested parties on this important issue.EPA's greenhouse gas advance notice of proposed rulemaking (GHG ANPR) does not recommend the use of any particular Clean Air Act (CAA) authority, make judgments about a preferred pathway, regulate any emissions or commit to specific next steps

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Latest draft of DOL’s Brucellosis Action Plan discussed at BOL meeting

Montana State Veterinarian, Dr. Zaluski, presented a revised Brucellosis Action Plan to the Board of Livestock on Tuesday, Nov. 18. He amended the plan based on comments he received during the plan's comment period and at several town meetings. Most notably, the plan has been changed from a three area plan to a two area plan based on county boundaries and encompassing Beaverhead, Madison, Gallatin, Park, Sweet Grass, Stillwater and Carbon Counties in the Area 1: Special Focus Area. All producers living in these seven counties will be required to complete a risk assessment with the Department of Livestock. Testing and other requirements will depend on the result of this assessment. To see the new plan please click here. (A preliminary budget is included in the plan.)Zaluski said that many comments suggested that we do no testing and wait out the time required to regain our brucellosis-free status. He said that he

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National Brucellosis Elimination Zone proposed

APHIS has a newly released proposal to regionalize the areas surrounding Yellowstone National Park in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. The area will be called the National Brucellosis Elimination Zone. To see the proposal, please click here.

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Other notes from BOL meeting

The second day of the Board of Livestock meeting began with a budget report, resolution of two brands disputes and division updates.The Montana Livestock Loss Reduction & Mitigation Board reported that it is running out of money to compensate ranchers who have suffered confirmed wolf depredations. The board took over these duties from Defenders of Wildlife in April of this year. Defenders of Wildlife contributed $50,000 to the board this year to pay to ranchers, and has committed $50,000 for next year. However, other funding sources have been hard to find and unless another source is found soon, ranchers may not be compensated for further claims this year.The Diagnostic lab reported a huge influx of brucellosis tests. There have been 49,342 tests since July this year, compared to 14,538 during the same time period last year. The lab is currently turning the tests around in one day, and can handle up to 3,000 per day. Currently the lab expects to receive a

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Governor appoints one of two Board of Livestock seats

Today, Governor Schweitzer appointed Brett DeBruycker, current president of the Montana Cattlemen's Association, to the Board of Livestock. His appointment filled the seat left vacant by the resignation of George Hammond in September. Meg Smith also resigned in September, but her seat remains empty for now. New appointees must be approved by the state Senate and serve six-year terms.The Board met at 1 p.m. today for its regular bi-monthly board meeting. Quentin Kujala of the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks gave a presentation on the agency's 2008 Elk Brucellosis Surveilance. He discussed research on elk movements in the Madison and Paradise Valley compared to data collected between 1976 and 1986. According to his data, elk are spending less time in the forest and more time in the valley bottoms on private land. He said that the agency firmly believes that elk are congregating in certain areas because of lack of hunter access to these areas. He explained that this has the ef

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It’s a busy November for MSGA – Convention will be here before you know it

November has already shaped up to be a very busy month here at the MSGA office. With the election come and gone, we are hard at work attending important industry meetings, putting the finishing touches on planning and preparation for our 124th Annual Convention and Trade Show, and looking ahead to the upcoming legislative session.On November 5 & 6 Errol and I attended the 5th meeting of the Interagency Bison Management Plan partners. They are holding series of meetings, open to the public for observation, to decide on “Adaptive Management” changes to the plan for the upcoming management season. MSGA has been keeping a close eye on these discussions as the partners push to allow for more and more tolerance for bison outside Yellowstone National Park. So far, the partners have agreed to allow untested bison to be outside of the park in various areas of Hebgen basin, near West Yellowstone, during most of the year. On the North side, after the completion of the buyout of th

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President and CEO of JBS Swift USA to speak at Montana Stockgrowers’ 124th Annual Convention

Wesley Batista, President and CEO of JBS Swift USA, based in Greeley, Colo., will speak at MSGA’s 124th Annual Convention and Trade Show at the Billings Holiday Inn Grand Montana, Dec. 11-13. Convention attendees will have the opportunity to hear Batista speak and ask him questions at the end of the Opening General Session on Friday, Dec. 12.JBS Swift USA is a division of Brazil’s JBS S.A., currently the world’s largest beef producer and exporter with a daily slaughtering capacity of 65.2 thousand head of cattle and the largest global exporter of processed beef. The company’s operations include 22 plants located in nine Brazilian states, six plants located in four Argentine provinces, 16 plants in the U.S., 10 in Australia and 10 in Italy. After purchasing Swift & Co. last year, JBS USA became the third-largest beef processor in the U.S., behind top-ranked Tyson Foods and second-ranked Cargill.“We appreciate Wesley Batista taking the time to travel to Billin

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USAHA passes resolution to regionalize GYA for brucellosis

The Northern Ag Network continued coverage of the USAHA, reporting that the U.S. Animal Health Association finished their meeting yesterday and the association approved a resolution to regionalize brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. USDA is required to respond to the group.According to Northern Ag's report,The resolution has 5 key concepts:1 – We must recognize that the level of risk for brucellosis exposure varies geographically in each state in the GYA.2 – We must implement and enhance traceability and have more rigorous testing for brucellosis.3 – Additional cases must be allowed to be found in the GYA without it affecting the free status of the state.4 – Advancements in the elimination of brucela abortus need to be made to eradicate brucellosis from the wildlife.5 – We need to support funding for these efforts.According to Dr. Zaluski, Montana State Veterinarian, the border of a buffer zone

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U.S. Animal Health Association considers new plan for brucellosis in GYA

The Northern Ag Network reported today that the U.S. Animal Health Association is considering a resolution that could change the way brucellosis is dealt with in the Greater Yellowstone Area.Check out the article with sound clips of an interview with Dr. Walt Cook, Wyoming's State Veterinarian. http://www.northernbroadcasting.com/stories_detail.asp?ID=1274According to Northern Ag Network's report, USAHA supports the concept of regionalizing the GYA. There will be a zone around Yellowstone National Park in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming that will not affect the brucellosis status of the rest of the states. Cook said that increased testing requirements will be required for the zone, but did not say who would pay for it. The report mentioned that the "group did stress that there needed to be a more aggressive approach taken to help handle the problem in the wildlife," but did not give any spec

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Schweitzer vs. Brown: Livestock Industry Campaign Donations

Chuck Johnson wrote an article this morning comparing the campaign collections between Brian Schweitzer and Roy Brown. See the article at the following link. http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2008/10/28/news/state/25-donations.txtIt was interesting to see that Roy Brown's second largest campaign contributing industry sector was the livestock industry whose contributions totaled $50,600. Schweitzer's second largest industry contributors were lawyers and lobbyists who's contributions totaled $251,000. Schweitzer did show $42,200 given to him by the livestock industry. Which is comparable to Brown's amount. Although it didn't show up as a top contributing industry sector.What do people out in cattle country think about this?

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Did you send in your comments on the draft brucellosis action plan yet? Comments are due Nov. 1

Last Thursday and Friday I attended two town meetings on the Department of Livestock’s draft brucellosis action plan in Ennis and Dillon. State Veterinarian, Dr. Zaluski presented the plan to a crowd of about 50 people at the Ennis Public Library on Thursday, and Dr. Linfield, who has been contracted by the DOL to develop herd plans and work with producers in the Greater Yellowstone Area, presented the plan to a crowd of about 40 in the 4-H Building at the Dillon Fairgrounds.Both portrayed the plan as a short-term, targeted surveillance plan to help us get our brucellosis Class Free status back. Both Dr. Zaluski and Dr. Linfield were careful to say that the plan is not split-state status and it is not a regionalization plan. Both estimated that it will take 12-18 months to get our status back with this plan. The lines for the three areas, Area 1 – Special Focus Area (elevated exposure potential); Area 2 – Assurance Area (minimal or no exposure potential); Area 3 – Area of

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Planning underway for MSGA’s 125th Anniversary Celebration in Miles City

Planning is underway for the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s 125th Anniversary Celebration, June 10-13, 2009, in Miles City. The celebration will cap off the organization’s regular mid-year meeting.In 1884, a group of seven men, led by Col. Thomas J. Bryan, met at the newly formed Miles City Club and founded the Eastern Montana Stockgrowers Association. Later, across the state in Helena, another group of men, led by Granville Stuart, formed the Montana Stockgrowers Association. The members of the two groups decided to merge into the one Montana Stockgrowers Association that exists today.MSGA will hold its mid-year meetings Wednesday, June 10 through Friday morning, June 12. Just before noon on Friday, the 125th Anniversary Celebration will begin. So far these events are planned: golf scramble, Solaris Feeders tour, Fort Keogh tour, Frontier Photographers presentation at the Art Center, Western Roundup exhibit at the Art Center, Range Riders Museum visit, Frid

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Montana Stockgrowers Association’s 124th Annual Convention and Trade Show set for Dec. 11-13 in Billings

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) will hold its 124th Annual Convention and Trade Show at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana in Billings, Dec. 11-13.The convention’s highlight will be the Grand Finale Banquet on Saturday night, Dec. 13. This year, Tucker Hughes, who energized and entertained the crowd last year, will return as emcee. Events for the Grand Finale Banquet will include a prime rib dinner, live entertainment, fashion show, auction and drawings for a Nutra Lix saddle, lawn mower and more! For the grand prize, one lucky member will drive away in a 2008 Dodge Cummins Diesel truck sponsored by Lithia Dodge of Billings, First Interstate Bank of Billings, Northern Ag Network, Western Ranch Supply, Pfizer Animal Health, WALCO Animal Health and MSGA!Other notable events include Friday night’s “Night around the Campfire” Trade Show Grand Opening, beginning at 5 p.m. and featuring music by the Ringling 5. The convention will include meetings, speakers, an

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PETA’s take on the Schweitzer/Brown vegetarian brouhaha

October 22, 2008Governor Brian Schweitzercc: Senator Roy BrownDear Governor Schweitzer:We at PETA have noticed that vegetarianism has made news lately in Montana, so we wanted to provide a little food for thought. Vegetarians might be outnumbered by cows in Montana, but that doesn't mean you should contribute to the B.S. America's meat habit fuels our obesity epidemic, and meat consumption has also been linked to heart disease, certain types of cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. A recent U.N. report found that meat production is a leading environmental hazard: Animal waste from factory farms pollutes rivers and bays from coast to coast, and raising animals for food tops the list for causing greenhouse-gas emissions. And anyone who follows the news knows that slaughterhouses across the nation repeatedly violate the federal Humane Slaughter Act. These and many other facts show why a meatless diet is something that everyone should embrace. Please vi

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A letter from Roy Brown

Roy Brown's campaign sent us this letter regarding recent allegations that he is a vegetarian:"As many of you have most likely heard, the governor and his political thugs have attempted to mislead those in the livestock community to believe that I do not support ranchers with my political policy or with my diet. Both allegations are completely false. I am disgusted that anyone would attempt to manipulate any sector of our community with such lies. I am not, nor have I ever been a vegetarian, and I believe allegations that one’s personal eating habits would have a direct effect on their political policy to be ridiculous and the signature of a desperate and petty campaign. It is an obvious attempt to turn your attention from his own failed leadership on issues that have impacted agriculture in Montana.I find it despicable that my opponent would attempt to turn attention to such a ludicrous allegation in an effort to duck responsibility for failing to protect Monta

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U.S. Department of Justice approves JBS merger with Smithfield and blocks merger with National Beef

by Errol Rice, MSGA Executive Vice President The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a civil antitrust lawsuit yesterday in U.S. District Court in Chicago to block the proposed merger of JBS Swift and National Beef Packing Company LLC. Montana’s Attorney General Mike McGrath is joining the Department’s lawsuit. The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) is uncertain as to who requested McGrath to join the case. (more…)

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DOL to hold town meetings for draft Brucellosis Action Plan

The Montana Department of Livestock has scheduled a series of meetings to discuss its draft brucellosis action plan, which is open for public comment through November 1. Meetings will be held: (more…)

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Montana Public Lands Council Update

by Jay Bodner, MSGA Natural Resource Director Due to your support, the Montana Public Lands Council (MPLC) has been active this past year defending your grazing rights on federal lands. It is only through your valuable contributions that our organization has been successful at protecting your rights at the state and national levels. This summer, MPLC collected and submitted data to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prevent sage grouse from being listed under the Endangered Species Act and intervened in the lawsuit trying to overturn the delisting of the grizzly bear in the Yellowstone area. (more…)

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Come see us at the NILE!

MSGA will be at the NILE this week! We have a lot of great things going on: We will have a booth at the trade show Wednesday through Saturday. Stop by to join, renew your membership or just visit! We will also be selling raffle tickets for a 3 day/3 night package for this year’s NFR. The package includes hotel, tickets to the rodeo and $500 for travel. Tickets are $25 each or five for $100. Proceeds will go to MSGA’s Advocacy Fund for the upcoming Legislative Session. The drawing will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18. If you can’t make it to the NILE but would still like to purchase tickets, please call MSGA at (406) 442-3420. Don’t miss your chance for this great package generously donated by our friends from Fort Dodge Animal Health!

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Upcoming IBMP Meetings

Is allowing more tolerance for diseased bison the right thing to do in our current brucellosis crisis?by Errol Rice, MSGA Executive Vice PresidentAt a time when Montana needs to be extra cautious about brucellosis, I find it a bit perplexing that the Interagency Bison Management Plan partners are working hard to allow more tolerance for diseased bison outside Yellowstone National Park. Our State Veterinarian has released a complicated Brucellosis Action Plan with excessive and onerous surveillance and testing requirements for areas around Yellowstone National Park, yet he is so far willing to accept the idea of 300, or possibly more, untested bison on Horse Butte near West Yellowstone. (more…)

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Montana looking for Brucellosis Task Force members

DOL - Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Montana Department of Livestock are looking for ranchers and wildlife enthusiasts to serve on a task force designed to develop solutions to the spread of brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. The seven-member task force will make science-based recommendations on wildlife and livestock management in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) to reduce the risk of transmission of the disease. (more…)

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MDOL extends comment period on draft brucellosis plan

DOL - The Montana Department of Livestock is extending the public comment period on its draft Brucellosis Action Plan by three weeks through Saturday, November 1. State veterinarian Dr. Martin Zaluski said the public has expressed "significant interest" in the plan and is asking for more time to comment. (more…)

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Welcome!

Welcome to the Montana Stockgrower Blog! We've started this blog to provide you with up-to-date information from the Montana Stockgrowers Association. We'll let you know about important industry news and give you an opportunity to discuss things with one another. If you have any questions, please email ariel@mtbeef.org. Happy blogging!

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