MSGA News

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Ismay Rancher Wins Ford Truck at Stockgrowers Convention

Jess Drange of Ismay, MT was the lucky winners of a 2016 Ford Super Duty pickup given away by Montana Ford Stores and Montana Stockgrowers Association at the 132nd Annual MSGA Convention and Trade Show.     The Drange family is very excited to be this year’s recipients. After the drawing, Jess announced he will be driving the truck all over the state! Each year Montana Ford Stores donates a new Ford pickup to be given away to one lucky MSGA member attending the Annual Convention and Trade Show.   “The winning partnership with Montana Stockgrowers Association and Montana Ford Stores continues to grow and prosper,” according to MSGA President, Bryan Mussard of Dillon. “Each Fall we enjoy driving across the state visiting participating dealerships, thanking them for

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Ranchers meet in Billings to elect leaders and set policy

800 ranchers from across the state gathered in Billings, MT Dec 7-9 at the Radisson Hotel for the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s 132nd Annual Convention and Trade Show. The three-day convention featured several speakers to help ranchers learn about innovative tools and technologies available in the industry. Highlights also included nightly NFR viewing and Calcutta auction, live music from Insufficient Funds Band, over $100,000 in prizes awarded and a trade show with 100 exhibitors representing many services across the ranching industry. Members had the opportunity to discuss and vote on resolutions that guide policy activity for the Stockgrowers Association leading into the 2017 legislative session. Important topics of discussion included wildlife and disease management, water law and tax policies. Tracy Brunner, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, highlighted Thursday’s Opening General Session, sharing the priorities of ranchers at a nation

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MSU Extension and MSGA announce 2016 Steer of Merit certifications

Montana State University Extension and the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) distinguished 106 “Steers of Merit” out of 924 entries for 2016. Out of 612 steers entered in the Carcass Division, 69 were deemed Steers of Merit. In the Ultrasound Division, 37 out of 311 entries received the distinction.   The exhibitors and breeders of the top five steers in each category were honored at MSGA’s Annual Convention, Dec. 7-9 in Billings at the Radisson Billings Hotel. The top five steer entries in the Carcass Division were: 1) Kaleb Probst, Beaverhead County (Probst Livestock, breeder); 2) Reese Meine, Beaverhead County (Reese Meine, breeder); 3) Layne Boeh, Park County (Terry Reuter, breeder); 4) Sara Malesich, Beaverhead County (Malesich Ranch, breeder); and 5) Madeline Hamilton, Missoula Cou

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Two Creek Monture Ranch honored with Environmental Stewardship Award

Ovando ranchers work to make ‘the best, better’ through collaborative conservation efforts     The Two Creek Monture Ranch, from Ovando, Montana, has been recognized as the 2017 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award winners.  Ranch managers Wayne and Karalee Slaght and family accepted the award Dec. 9 at the Montana Stockgrowers Association Annual Convention and trade show in Billings. The Two Creek Monture Ranch will now represent Montana at the Region IV Environmental Stewardship Award competition in Denver this spring. Like the old 4-H motto, the ranch team is focused on “making the best better.” “That, to me, is that it means to be a good steward,” Karalee said. “It’s keeping up with new ideas for improving all of these things.” The Slaghts manage about 21,000 acres – half deeded and half leased – for owners Ralph and Toone Burchenal on the southern edge of the complex and greatly celebrated Crown of the Conti

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Holistic Management Seminar to be Offered in Conrad

MSU Extension, Pondera County will bring Roland Kroos with Crossroads Ranch Consulting, to Conrad January 30th through February 2nd to teach Principles of Holistic Management.  Roland has been involved with teaching holistic management principles for over 30 years and helping ranchers practice these management concepts. Roland received his training alongside Allan Savory, the founder of Holistic Management®. Roland is also one of the instructors teaching holistic management at Montana State University.  Registration is available online at www.crossroadsranchconsulting.com . Shaelyn Meyer, Pondera County Ag Extension Agent, took Roland’s Holistic Management Course as an undergraduate at MSU. Here is what she has to say about the education she received: “The course really changed the way I think about decision making. Ecological health of the land, animal health, profit, quality of life… they are all conn

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Department of Livestock Keeps Watchful Eye on Canadian Tuberculosis Cases

The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) is actively monitoring the bovine tuberculosis (TB) investigation in Canada. In late September, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) initiated an epidemiological investigation after bovine TB was detected in a Canadian cow at a United States (US) slaughter facility. As of December 2, 2016, there are six confirmed cases of bovine TB in Canada, including the index animal detected at slaughter in the US. Of the roughly 40 premises currently under quarantine, most are located in Southeast Alberta with about five premises in Saskatchewan. DOL has long standing requirements that cattle coming from Canada need to be tested for TB prior to import. “Despite what feels like close proximity of this incident, Montana cattle producers remain safe,” said Montana State Veterinarian, Marty Zaluski. “Canada’s vigorous response, combined with our requirement that Canadian cattle be TB tested before entering Montana, keeps the risk low for ranchers in

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MSU College of Agriculture students win more than $400,000 in scholarships

The Montana State University College of Agriculture distributed more than $400,000 in scholarships to more than 200 agriculture students at its annual student scholarship banquet held earlier this month. The banquet, held during the college’s annual Celebrate Agriculture event, attracted more than 300 Montana agricultural supporters and students. College of Agriculture faculty and staff acknowledged agriculture students who received scholarships from a variety of donors during the 2016-2017 year, in addition to recognizing the college’s 2016 Outstanding Agricultural Leader, Jim Hagenbarth. The banquet dinner featured a Montana-made meal highlighting local and regional foods and their agricultural producers. With more than 110 distinct, named scholarships housed in t

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Montana Stockgrowers to Host 132nd Annual Convention in Billings

Ranchers head to Magic City to attend convention and set policy for upcoming year December 7-9. Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) will celebrate 132 years of serving the state’s ranchers with their Annual Convention & Trade Show. This year’s meetings at the Radisson Hotel in Billings will host a trade show, educational workshops, policy meetings, over $100,000 in prizes and live music. “It is time to make plans to attend the Annual Convention in Billings. Greet old friends and meet new ones while you work together to discuss important issues and set policy to guide your leadership for the 2017 legislative session,“ says MSGA President, Gene Curry from Valier.  “While there you will have opportunity to listen to info

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conservation applications

Conservation Stewardship Program applications now available

Starting in November, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will accept and process applications for enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation’s largest conservation program. Applications will be made available in local service centers. NRCS has made several updates to the program this year to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications will help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives.  These new tools also allow producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process. NRCS offices will begin processing applications for the program on Nov. 14, 2016, with sign-up running through February 3, 2017.  People interested in the additional opportunities the upda

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MSGA member, Cooper Hereford Ranch, recognized as one of Montana’s top family-owned businesses

In Montana agriculture few names are as readily recognized as the Cooper Hereford Ranch, a pioneer in the production of purebred Hereford cattle. Over a hundred years in the making, the business was recognized as one of Montana’s top family-owned businesses in the Old Business Category of the 2016 Montana Family Business Awards presented by the Montana State University’s Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship. State Farm Insurance sponsors the awards and Montana Chamber of Commerce sponsors the annual awards luncheon in Bozeman. The Cooper Ranch, located near Willow Creek, Montana, is currently passing into the hands of a fourth generation, having been first established in 1914 as a homestead called the Silver Brook Farm by their great grandfather, Frank Oscar Cooper. Establishing and holding onto his 480 acre enterprise was no easy matter. Frank raised farm a

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Tips When Considering Cull Cows

Written by Dr. Megan Van Emon, MSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist One area of the beef cattle market that is easily overlooked is the cull cow market. Most cows are culled because they do not re-breed or produce a small calf at weaning. It is important to remember that cull cows have potential to provide an additional source of income for the ranch. Here are a few tips to consider when culling your cows.  Cull Cow Market. The cull cow market varies throughout the year, with the lowest prices occurring between September and December. This occurs as many producers are weaning during this time period and flooding the market with cull cows. If it is economically viable, selling cull cows early in the summer or hold them over winter and selling in the early spring may improve cull cow prices. Feeding Cull Cows. Feeding cull cows after weaning can improve body weight, body condition, and q

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Montana Ranchers Complete 200-mile Relay in Hawaii

12 runners, two vehicles and 200(ish) miles. Each year, the Montana Running Ranchers tackle this journey with a different race in the Ragnar Relay series. 2016’s race took the team to the Hawaiian Islands for a hot and windy race. Despite being short one runner, MRR succeeded and finished in the top 5% out of nearly 300 participating teams from across the country. To run 200 miles with 11 runners, is no easy feat. Add in tropical moisture, several thousand feet of elevation climb and mid-day heat over fields of black lava rock, and the Ragnar Relay Hawaii proved to be one of the most challenging races completed in recent years for the Montana Running Ranchers. As usual, the Running Ranchers represented Montana and their ranching communities well. Relay teams from across the country complemented the team’s vehicles (decorated with brands from supporting ranches) and upbeat spirit du

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Agri-Best Feeds Celebrates 10 Years of Business

by Northern Ag Network Staff Agri-Best Feeds’ mission to provide superior agricultural products, satisfying every customer, and enhancing the lives they touch is seen throughout their history – and they are only just getting started! Ten years ago at the Northern International Livestock Exposition in Billings, Montana, rancher Irv Haidle introduced SweetPro to the Montana and Wyoming cattle market.  At the time, Irv thought he was showcasing a new product that he would build to into a small business opportunity for himself, but it didn’t take long for him to realize this was going to be so much bigger.  Agri-Best Feeds grew from his vision into a successful family business that continues t

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Report highlights best practices in Montana ‘Beef to School’ partnerships

A team of Montana State University researchers, stakeholders and community partners known as the Montana Beef to School Project has written a case study report to help Montana beef producers, meat processors, schools and communities explore what factors make beef to school programs successful and encourage the use of local beef in every Montana school. The report was released online this week to coincide with National Farm to School Month in October. ‘Farm to school’ efforts are increasing nationwide and, as beef is one of Montana’s top agricultural products, ‘beef to school’ efforts are increasing in Montana, according to Carmen Byker Shanks, assistant professor in the MSU Department of Health and Human Development and principal

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conservation applications

Producers in 14 Montana Counties Eligible for 2016 Livestock Forage Disaster Program

Livestock producers in 14 Montana counties have until Jan. 30, 2017 to enroll in the 2016 Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) Eligible 2016 LFP counties include Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Fallon, Flathead, Granite, Lewis and Clark, Missoula, Park, Powder River, Powell, Stillwater, Sweet Grass and Teton. LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers in qualifying counties for drought on dryland pasture. Eligible livestock producers must own or lease dryland pasture physically located in a qualifying county and eligible livestock must use this ground during the normal grazing period for the county. The following 14 counties have met the qualifying drought criteria for 2016 in Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Fallon, Flathead, Granite, Lewis and Clark, Missoula, Park, Powder River, Powell, Stillwater, Sweet Grass and Teton. Livestock eligible for LFP incl

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CME Working Group Update

Written by Jim Fryer | Hobson, MT Our cattle industry is going through one of the most dramatic price declines in decades. Similar events are also occurring across many different commodities, from wheat to oil. Several years of record high prices building upon momentum from the previous decade have led to a surge in supplies. At the same time, macroeconomic conditions throughout the world face challenges we have yet to fully grasp. We know full well, in our industry, that it takes longer for our biological process to ramp production. This has left many reeling from overall deflation while the expansion of the cowherd has

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Update from MSGA President Gene Curry

As I sit down to write this article it occurs to me that this will be my last article in the newsletter as your president. That thought comes with extremely mixed emotions! I have tremendously enjoyed my time representing you all in the ten years in leadership of this outstanding organization. Whenever I am asked about my role in MSGA, I always respond by saying that I get to work for the best bosses in the state. It is an honor to represent MSGA whether it be in DC, at a NCBA function, in meetings with state government officials, legislators, or at a local affiliate meeting and I always try to keep in mind that I am there representing all of you, not just myself. I have truly enjoyed every minute sp

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Sage Grouse Management Plans Based on Inaccurate Science

One year after the announcement by the Department of Interior that a listing under the Endangered Species Act was not warranted for the greater sage grouse and the implementation of restrictive resource management plans for the species, the Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen's Beef Association submitted a report to the agencies citing concerns with the methodology used. Ethan Lane, PLC executive director and NCBA executive director of federal lands, notes that recent studies have shown little or no correlation between sage grouse nest success and the requirements set out by the agencies. "The threats to sage grouse habitat remain wildfire and land development, both of which are mitigated by proper livestock grazing," said Lane. "One of the most restrictive and burdensome requirements set out by the agencies through the sage grouse Resource Management Plans is the arbitrary stubble height requirement. To say that grass height alone can predict whether or not a sage grouse

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Stockgrowers Partner With Premier Seedstock Industry for 25th Year

By Gene Curry-Valier, MT MSGA President For 25 years, the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) has partnered with Montana’s premier seedstock industry to produce the MSGA Seedstock and Commercial Cattle Directory. Through this partnership MSGA has been able to market and promote the highest quality genetics available from Montana to the world. The expansion of the directory has allowed our supporters to break into new markets and reach customers across the U.S. and beyond. The 2015-2016 Cattle Directory has distributed over 5,000 hard copies and had over 23,000 page views online; totaling over a hundred hours of view time stretching from Canada to Russia. The growing reach of the directory is a testament to the quality a

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Montana Stockgrowers Association Opposes Initiative I-77

I-177 is an initiative that will appear on the ballot this November. The measure bans the use of traps for preventing the spread of disease and controlling dangerous predators on public lands in Montana. The Montana Stockgrowers Association’s (MSGA) vision is to exemplify leading innovation in ranching while preserving Montana’s complex natural landscape, history, economy, ethics and social values. I-177 fails to embody the vision of Montana’s ranching sector. I-177 does not allow today’s advanced and ethical methods of trapping, to occur until after all non-lethal methods have been tried and found unsuccessful to prevent killing of cattle, thus deteriorating a rancher’s means to invest in environmental stewardship. MSGA has worked proactively with the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and other stakeholders to evaluate trapping season structures, quotas and establish setbacks on public lands to avoid conflicts. Our system has worked and continues to work for Montana. We cann

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Montana Beef Council Board of Directors set plan for upcoming fiscal year

The Montana Beef Council will invest about $1.8 million into programs of beef promotion, education, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications in fiscal year 2017, which began Oct. 1. Programs approved are funded through Montana’s 50 cent in-state portion of the $1 per head beef checkoff. In action concluding its Sept. 28-30 meeting in Billings, the MBC Board of Directors—all volunteers, including members from nearly all segments of the beef supply chain—approved checkoff funding for a total of 28 demand-building project funding requests, or proposals for checkoff funding, in the fiscal year. “The projects that the board reviewed this year were high-caliber and made for great discussion as we determined programs that best aligned with our strategic priorities,” said Kristin Larson, Montana Beef Council president, a producer a

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MSU to honor Jim Hagenbarth as Outstanding Agricultural Leader

BOZEMAN -- Jim Hagenbarth of Hagenbarth Livestock in Dillon has been named the 2016 Outstanding Agricultural Leader on behalf of Montana State University’s College of Agriculture and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station. The public is invited to congratulate Hagenbarth at a Montana-made breakfast to be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, in MSU’s South Gym of the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center during the college’s annual Celebrate Agriculture event scheduled for Nov. 11-12 at MSU. MSU Vice President of Agriculture Charles Boyer said Hagenbarth is a successful and respected agriculture leader for Montana and a great example for current university agriculture students. “Jim Hagenbarth represents some of the very best of Montana agriculture: commitment to the stewardship of land, resources and people and an impressive dedication to public service,” Boyer said. “We’re pleased to honor Jim with this award, not only for his family’s successful livestock and ranching business, but be

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Low-stress stockmanship clinic planned Oct. 7, Miles City

(MILES CITY, Mont.) – Ranchers and students of effective livestock handling have the opportunity to learn from low-stress stockmanship expert Whit Hibbard on Friday, Oct. 7 in Miles City. Hibbard will present a day-long seminar on stockmanship, which improves animal productivity, economic performance and human and animal safety. The clinic is hosted by the Montana Beef Quality Assurance program. The classroom style program will run from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Miles City Livestock Commission. Cost is $30, which includes lunch. Trained in the style of legendary livestock handler Bud Williams, Hibbard shares his experience as a working cattleman and lifelong scholar of animal handling in his clinics. Hibbard is a fourth-generation Montana cattle and sheep rancher and former national park mounted ranger, and a student of low-stress livestock handling, natural horsemanship, ranch roping, and facilities design. He believes strongly in the importance and value of stockmanship and is com

MSU to host agricultural outlook conference Nov. 11

BOZEMAN – The Montana State University Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics and MSU Extension will host an agricultural economics conference, “Agricultural Production Trends and Changing Food Systems,” on Nov. 11. The Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics is a joint department of the MSU College of Agriculture and MSU College of Letters and Science. At the conference, MSU agricultural economics and Extension faculty will speak about topics tailored to the Montana agricultural industry, including grain and cattle markets, banking regulation, crop viruses, farm bill updates, Montana poverty statistics and agricultural profitability under the statewide agricultural production research grant with the Montana Research and Economic Development Initiative. “The annual conference is an opportunity for university economists and specialists to share their research findings and value with our state’s stakeholders,” said Joel Schumacher, MSU agricultural economics

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CATTLE CRAWL – PROGRESSIVE BEEF DINNER IN BILLINGS, OCTOBER 9

Experience a night of culinary fusion, Montana style! Meet local chefs and local beef producers as they bring you their latest creations during a walking tour of three premiere downtown Billings restaurants. Registration is open for the 2016 Cattle Crawl, taking place in downtown Billings on Sunday, October 9, beginning at 5:00 p.m. The Cattle Crawl is an opportunity to acquaint urban consumers with area ranchers to feature beef in a creative way. The tour kicks off at Stacked a lively tavern with a contemporary vibe for an opportunity for diners to enjoy beef appetizers. The dinner tour then continues with stops at Noodles O'Brien at Thirsty Street Brewing before finishing the crawl at TEN at The Northern. The annual Cattle Crawl is made possible by Montana beef producers and their Checkoff dollars. Proceeds benefit leadership and education programs for young ranchers involved with the

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China Lifts Ban on U.S. Beef

After 13 years of closed access, the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) welcomed the news of the Chinese government lifting the ban on the import of U.S. beef. As one of the largest importers of beef, exports to China will open up new opportunities for Montana ranchers. China's imports have risen dramatically, reaching a record $2.3 billion in 2015. USDA forecasts that China will surpass Japan as the second-largest beef importer with imports estimated at 825,000 tons in 2016. Rapidly rising demand for beef has made China the fastest-growing beef market in the world. Montana Stockgrowers President, Gene Curry of Valier notes, “This news comes at a time when the markets are at the top of mind for every cattle producer. China is home to one-fifth of the global population and a major importer of protein, we look forward to providing China with high quality beef. On behalf of our membership, I would like to personally thank Senator Daines and Ambassador Baucus for their work in o

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Montana Stockgrowers Seeking Applicants for Year Two of Leadership Series

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) is excited to announce the second year of a leadership program for young leaders in the ranching industry. The Stockgrowers Leadership Series is designed to provide training and skills to future leaders of MSGA and Montana’s ranching communities. The 12-month class kicks off in January 2017 in Helena. Applications are due October 31. “We are excited to launch the second year of MSGA’s Leadership Series,” says Errol Rice, MSGA Executive Vice President. “Investing in leadership is a core strategy of MSGA’s long-range plan and our industry’s success will rely on our ability to develop a pipeline of leaders who are disciplined, well trained and inspired by the future of ranching.” The Leadership Series is a 12-month program where participants will take part in a number of workshops and sessions exposing them to different aspects of the ranching business today. These topics include policy work, banking and finance, management, business relat

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Montana Stockgrowers Association Seeks Nominations for Ranching Woman of the Year

The Montana Stockgrowers Association is seeking nominations for the 2016 Montana Ranching Woman of the Year. The annual award is presented to an MSGA member who has made great contributions to the Montana ranching community and has gone above and beyond to support their family and friends. Nominations are due October 31 and the recipient will be recognized at MSGA’s annual convention in Billings, December 7-9. “Women are the backbone of Montana’s ranching communities. These women go above and beyond to support their immediate family members and pitch in whenever the need arises in their communities,” said Gene Curry, MSGA President from Valier. “We look forward to recognizing these accomplished women each year at our annual convention and thanking them for their hard work.” Last year’s recipient of the Ranching Woman of the Year was Lila Taylor, who ranches with her husband, Watty, near Kirby. Lila has served in the Montana House of Representatives and on the Montana Board of Reg

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NCBA Takes Stand Against HSUS Attempt to Weaken Beef Checkoff

WASHINGTON (Sept. 16, 2016) - The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association was recently notified that Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) attorneys have filed a lawsuit against USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) on behalf of the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM). This lawsuit seeks to divide the beef industry against itself by opening old wounds and weakening the beef checkoff as HSUS drives toward its ultimate goal of ending animal agriculture. The lawsuit, filed by HSUS lawyers, seeks the release of documents related to two OIG audits of the beef checkoff and its contractors, including NCBA. Both audits found that producer investments in the checkoff are protected by the firewall, which prevents beef checkoff dollars from being used for policy activities. Two OIG full audits and multiple random audits by USDA have found contractors, including NCBA, to be in full compliance with the laws which protect checkoff funds. “Those findings haven’t satisfied the extre

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Montana Weekly Auction, Hay and Drought Report for Week Ending September 16th

MONTANA WEEKLY AUCTION REPORT | WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 16, 2016 Market: Billings Livestock Commission, MT Market: Public Auction Yards - Cattle, MT Receipts: 3,012    Last Week: 1,892    Last Year 3,767 Compared to last week: Feeder cattle were too lightly tested this week to develop any market trend. Feeder cattle quality was mostly average on steers and average to attractive on heifers with a few tested open replacement quality heifers of very attractive quality. Yearlings offered mostly average weigh up conditions this week and light flesh as most offerings were coming straight off grass. Buyers remain cautious this week as they bid on offerings. CME positions moved sideways throughout the week providing no real direction for feeder cattle buyers. Spring born feeder calves sold with mostly light demand this week. Quality on calves was average to attractive with several higher quality small packages on offer. With very few calves on offer and unpredictable weathe

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Top Policy Initiatives in Washington D.C. for the Week of September 12, 2016

House Agriculture Committee Addresses Outdated Packers and Stockyards Act This week, the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 5883, legislation to modernize the Packers and Stockyards Act. Enacted in 1921, the Packers and Stockyards Act is intended to protect buyers and sellers of livestock from unfair, deceptive, and discriminatory practices. Having not been revised in decades, Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC), chairman of the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee, introduced H.R. 5883, to expand the definition of "marketing agency" to include video and online auctions and update acceptable payment methods to include electronic transfer of funds, ensuring the legislation keeps up with the latest technologies available as our industry and modern banking continues to evolve. Sage Grouse Provision Key for Western Producers Work continues in Washington, D.C., on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY17. The House-pas

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Cattle Complex Continues Downward Trend

Drought Monitor Update | Week Ending September 09, 2016 During the past week, areas east of the Continental Divide witnesses slightly above normal temperatures. Overall, the West was dry last week with the exception of areas of isolated precipitation in northwestern Washington, eastern Montana, and southeastern New Mexico. Dryness during the past 90 days led to expansion of areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1) in southeastern and south-central Idaho. In northwestern Wyoming, an area of Severe Drought (D2) was expanded in the headwater region of the Snake River where baseflow has been well below normal. Montana Weekly Auction Report | Week Ending Septemb

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2016 Public Lands Council Meeting Wraps Up; Utah Rancher Takes the Reins

WASHINGTON (September 12, 2016) – On Sat. Sept. 10, 2016, the annual Public Lands Council meeting wrapped up with a high desert range and operation tour in Southern Idaho. The meeting drew more than 150 public lands ranchers along with affiliate representatives to engage in the grassroots policy process, hear from agency officials, and discuss critical issues that are impacting the West. This year’s PLC meeting focused on top issues for public lands ranchers including preserving and enhancing sage grouse habitat through land stewardship, managing wild horse and burro populations at appropriate levels, and fighting regulation that threatens multiple use and vibrant western communities. “We had a successful meeting this year, and we are pleased with the turnout of not only our members but agency officials that took to time to meet with us and hear our concerns,” said Ethan Lane, PLC Executive Director. At the conclusion of the business meeting Fri. afternoon, Dave Eliason, a fifth-

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Public Lands Council Annual Meeting Update

We catch up with Jay Bodner, MSGA  Director of Natural Resources and Montana Public Lands Council Executive Secretary. He gives us an update on what the top issues are at the meeting and how they affect Montana and MSGA members. [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/282732266" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

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Public Lands Council Hosts Annual Meeting in Boise, Idaho

BOISE, Idaho (Sept. 8, 2016) – Western ranchers are gathering this week in Boise, Idaho, for the 2016 Public Lands Council annual meeting. As the only organization in Washington D.C. solely dedicated to representing livestock ranchers who utilize public lands, PLC’s annual meeting will focus on legislative and regulatory updates. This year’s meeting will again feature top-notch speakers covering a wide range of topics. “There’s never been a more important time for public lands ranchers to come together and shape the future policy for our livelihoods,” said Brenda Richards, PLC president. “Ranchers across the West have had some great wins over the past year, but there are still a number of critically important issues that we need to tackle. From the continued abuse of the Antiquities Act, locking off broad sweeps of public lands from multiple use, to en

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NCBA Works to Address Market Volatility

Colin Woodall, NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs, discusses NCBA’s efforts to ensure the futures markets work for risk management. MSGA member Jim Fryer of Hobson, MT was appointed to the NCBA/CME Working Group this summer. This group has been engaged on many levels to address the market volatility. Check out the podcast below to learn more.   [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/281726840" params="color=ff5500" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

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Dr. Temple Grandin to speak in Great Falls Sept. 23

GREAT FALLS – Dr. Temple Grandin, famed animal scientist whose work has had a major impact on livestock handling, will speak in Great Falls on Friday, Sept. 23. Dr. Grandin will speak at an event running from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kings Arena, 50 Foothills Lane, just east of Great Falls. Her visit is being organized by the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee and sponsored by Montana Farmers Union, Great Falls Clinic Hospital, Great Falls College MSU, Cascade County MSU – Extension Service, Greenfields Irrigation District, Cascade Conservation District, Torgerson’s, North 40 Outfitters, Western Ranch Supply, and the Montana FFA Foundation. Dr. Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State

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MSGA Board of Directors Upcoming Vacancies

There will be three vacancies on the board of Directors this upcoming December. MSGA will be taking nominations for these positions until September 30, 2016. Below are the directors that will have reached their term limit and will be leaving the Board. President Gene Curry will also complete his two year term this December. We want to thank these four for their years of service to MSGA! Without their dedication and hard work, MSGA would not be the success that it is. In compliance with Association bylaws, the MSGA Board of Directors will appoint a nominating committee consisting of seven members to nominate candidates for all upcoming vacancies. Nominees should be members in good standing and participate in the nominating committee’s interview and nomination process. Nominations for Director positions should be submitted to the Stockgrowers office. Please fill out

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MSGA Member Selected for CME Working Group

In response to the recent market volatility, MSGA nominated Jim Fryer of Hobson, MT to serve on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) / Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) working group. This working group has been tasked with investigating inconsistencies in the cash cattle market and ensuring a level playing field for all market participants. MSGA is proud to announce that Jim has been selected to serve on the working group. He is an excellent representative of Montana Stockgrowers and we are thrilled that he will be representing Montana’s cattle industry on this working group. Jim has decades of experience working in cattle and beef cash markets. For five years he handled global trading

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2016 T-Bone Classic Gala and Golf Scramble

Ranchers and leaders from Montana’s business communities had a great time at Big Sky last week for the 2016 T-Bone Classic. The event included a gala dinner and golf tournament, Calcutta auction and a day of great golf on the Big Sky Golf Course with great views below Lone Peak. The event benefits Montana Stockgrowers’ Research & Education Endowment Foundation and provides an opportunity for networking among leaders of Montana’s leading businesses and industries. The T-Bone Classic is the second largest tournament held at the Big Sky Golf Course. This year's winners included first place finisher - Tilleman Ag Equipment, second place - Erickson Financial Strategies and third place - Showdown. The calcutta winners were as follows: 1st pl

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2016 Montana’s Young Ag Leadership Conference

September 30 – October 2 ♦ Holiday Inn ♦ Great Falls Once again, we are proud to present Montana’s Young Ag Leadership Conference! This is a one-of-a-kind event, packed with everything relevant to being a young[ish] person in today’s exciting, changing world of agriculture. With workshops on marketing, finance issues, crop and livestock programs, emerging technologies, leadership development and more, there is something here for everyone. A committee of your peers from Montana’s leading ag organizations planned this conference to create a unique experience and you won’t find a better opportunity to network with other young leaders and industry leaders as you gather new insight on improving and promoting agriculture in our state. We hope you choose to be a part of this event, as well as take an active role in Montana’s agriculture…it’s your industry and your way of life. See you in September! 2016 YALC Planning Committee Schedule of Events

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Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame announces 2016 inductions

Today the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF & WHC) announced the ninth class of inductions into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. The inductees were chosen from a field of candidates nominated by the general public. Inductees are honored for their notable contributions to the history and culture of Montana.   “Our volunteer trustees around Montana vote on nominations that come from the district in which they reside,” said Jeff Bolstad, Helena State Farm agent and MCHF&WHC President. “It gives the local communities a strong voice in who will represent them in the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame exists to honor those who have made an impact in their part of the state and represent Montana’s authentic heritage for future generations.”   The MCHF & WHC board of directors has designated 12 trustee districts across the state from which up to 20 trustees may be appointed. Nomination criteria established by the board

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National Cattlemen’s Foundation Accepting Applications for W.D. Farr Scholarships

The National Cattlemen's Foundation is now accepting applications for the W.D. Farr Scholarships for the 2016-17 school year. The scholarship was established by the National Cattlemen's Foundation to honor the successful career of the late W. D. Farr. Two annual $12,000 grants will be awarded to outstanding graduate students that demonstrate superior achievement in academics and leadership and will allow the students to further their study in fields that benefit the cattle and beef industry. To apply for the scholarship, graduate students planning to pursue a career in the beef industry should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, a description of applicant's goals and experience, a statement of belief in the industry as well as a review of the applicant's graduate research and three letters of recommendation. Applications close on August 31, 2016 Qualifications Applicant must be enrolled as a gr

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Cow Sense Chronicle: Early Weaning As a Drought Management Strategy

From Cow Sense Chronicles by Rachel Endecott, Beef Cattle Specialist I’ve been hearing from folks experiencing drought and fires throughout the state. Other regions are in good shape, but some are ready for winter to come to the rescue! This month, I’ll give a brief overview of early weaning as one drought management tool for ranchers. The majority of spring‐born beef calves are weaned at 6 to 7 months of age, typically in October or November. This timeframe will vary based on calving season, location, and marketing scheme. As dry conditions result in limited forage availability, producers may consider early weaning to ease some of the demand. By the time a calf is 6 to 7 months old, he or she consumes about half of the amount of forage that a mature cow consumes. Weaning calves removes the lactation demand for nutrients. Cow requirements and intake will both decrease after weaning.

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Updated Veterinary Feed Directive Course Dates

Montana State University Extension is hosting Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) Short Courses. These informative classes will provide you with all of the information you need on VFD and answer any questions you may have. For more information contact Megan Van Emon, Extension Beef Specialist, at 406-874-8286 or megan.vanemon@montana.edu.   Editor's Note: The Great Falls VFD seminar on September 12 is at the Paddock Club within the fairgrounds at Montana Expo Park starting at 1pm.

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Checking in on the Checkoff

By Chaley Harney, Executive Director Your Montana Beef Council has a busy summer of promoting beef as we come into the home-stretch of the fiscal year, ending September 30. And with a new fiscal year approaching, we will again be seeking funding requests from contractors to help carry out the mission of protecting and increasing demand for beef. In this fiscal year, we have worked with over 20 different organizations to build more demand for your product right here in Montana. Additionally, there are four representatives that also voice your interest on the national and international le

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Young Ag Leadership Conference is heading to Great Falls

GREAT FALLS—Mark your calendar! Montana’s thirteenth annual Young Ag Leadership Conference (YALC) is set to take place September 30-October 2 at the Holiday Inn in Great Falls, MT. Young people involved and interested in agriculture, aged 18-40, are invited to attend this one-of-a-kind conference where leadership, personal development, education and networking take center stage. This year’s agenda boasts top-notch speakers, including the well-known advocate for agriculture, Dairy Carrie. There will be cutting-edge workshops, exciting entertainment and new this year, an Entrepreneur Spotlight of local businesses. YALC’s action-packed program is put together specifically with young agriculturalists in mind by representatives from each of these organizations: Montana Agri-Business Association, Montana 4-H Foundation, Montana Wool Growers Association, Montana Grain Growers Association, Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Alpha Gamma Rho

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Tester Skewers Administration’s Brazilian Beef Decision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 4, 2016   Marneé Banks | 202.604.5521 Dave Kuntz     | 202.224.8544 Luke Jackson  | 406.702.5484   Tester Skewers Administration’s Brazilian Beef Decision Senator Stands Up for Montana Agriculture Producers and Consumers   (Big Sandy, MT) – Senator Jon Tester called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase transparency and address safety concerns regarding the importation of Brazilian beef.   This week USDA announced a policy change allowing Brazil to send raw beef to the United States.  Tester sent a letter to Secretary Vilsack on behalf of Montana consumers and hard-working cattlemen and women outlining his concerns about Brazil’s food safety standards and its meat industry’s recent history of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).  Tester pushed the USDA for answers on what the Administration has done to improve the emergency response to an ani

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Guest Column: U.S. Senator Steve Daines

One of the greatest privileges I have in the U.S. Senate is standing up every day on behalf of Montana’s farmers and ranchers. There are more than 25,000 farms and ranches across Montana which are the foundation of our economy, and make up our number one industry: agriculture. But agriculture is more than just an economic driver of our state, it’s a way of life for thousands of Montana families and supports tens of thousands of jobs throughout our state. In Montana, we have about two-and-a-half times as many cattle as we do people – that’s over two and a half million cattle – which helps to provide a safe, reliable and

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Living with Grizzly Bears

MSGA Director Wayne Slaght of Orlando, MT shares his practices for living with grizzly bears Written by Wayne Slaght, Ovando, MT Grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide have continued to be in the headlines, due mostly to the numerous conflicts with both humans and livestock. With an estimated population of over 1000 bears in this area and along the Rocky Mountain Front, these animals continue to expand their range and encounters with landowners. As a director on the MSGA board and ranch manager in the heart of grizzly bear territory, I wanted to share with the membership some of my experiences and some of the practices we have implemented to help reduce conflicts with grizzl

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Montana StateFund Application

The Montana State Fund (MSF) and the Agricultural Group Associations have entered into an agreement to provide a group program to qualifying Agricultural group members. To participate in the program, a group member must complete and sign the Enrollment Application. Acceptance into the Agricultural Group Montana Workers’ Compensation Group program is subject to approval based on the eligibility criteria for the program. The criteria define the classes of business that qualify and eligible loss ratio and/or experience modification factors. The effective date of the policy must be within the contract year. This enrollment application must be received within 90 days of the effective date of the policy to be considered for participation in the group program. By enrolling in the Montana State Fund, participants are eligible to receive two annual dividends. Other benefits include individual help with your worker’s comp issues, ranch visits conducted at your request and staying up to d

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Cherry Creek Ranch wins regional award from national cattlemen’s beef association

MSGA members, Lon and Vicki Reukauf, discuss winning NCBA's Environmental Stewardship Award with Northern Ag Network's Lane Nordlund This commercial cow-calf operation, located in eastern Montana, is one of the few remaining original homesteads, a fact that instills pride in Lon and Vicki Reukauf, the third generation to operate the ranch. That legacy also drives the management philosophy for the Reukauf’s, who place a strong emphasis on rotational grazing as a way to manage pastures and maintain soil health. Cherry Creek Ranch, Terry, Mont., was honored last week as one of six regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program winners. The award, which is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation, is presented to farmers and ranchers who are working hard to protect America’s natural resources. Recently the Northern Ag Netw

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Montana’s Cherry Creek Ranch Receives Regional Environmental Stewardship Award

Montana Stockgrowers Association members win Regional Environmental Stewardship Award DENVER (July 15, 2016) – Cherry Creek Ranch, Terry, Mont., was honored this week as one of six regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program winners. The award, which is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation, is presented to farmers and ranchers who are working hard to protect America’s natural resources. The commercial cow-calf operation, located in eastern Montana, is one of the few remaining original homesteads, a fact that instills pride in Lon and Vicki Reukauf, the third generation to operate the ranch. That legacy also drives the management philosophy for the Reukauf’s, who place a strong emphasis on rotational grazing as a way to manage pastures and maintain soil health. “For three generations we wake up every morning wi

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National Cattlemen’s Foundation Accepting Applications for W.D. Farr Scholarships

Scholarship Awards Graduate Students Committed to Beef Industry Advancement DENVER (July 14, 2016) – The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is now accepting applications for the W.D. Farr Scholarships for the 2016-17 school year. The scholarship was established by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation to honor the successful career of the late W. D. Farr.  Two annual $12,000 grants will be awarded to outstanding graduate students that demonstrate superior achievement in academics and leadership and will allow the students to further their study in fields that benefit the cattle and beef industry. 2015 scholarship recipient Greta Krafsur, DVM, a third year anatomic pathology resident at Colorado State University believes that the scholarship is an investment in the future of sustainable production of food animals. “By alleviating tuition expenses, the W.D. Farr Scholarship has allowed me to focus on my research of bovine pulmonary hypertension so that I may continue to find

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Veterinary Feed Directive Informational Meetings

The Montana State University Extension Beef Cattle Program is holding Veterinary Feed Directive educational meetings throughout the state this summer. These courses are free to the public and will be a great way to learn more about the VFD. For more information about the courses please contact Megan Van Emon, Extension Beef Specialist at 406.874.8286 or megan.vanemon@montana.edu.

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Montana Ranchers Plan for 200-mile Running Event

Each year, members of the Montana ranching community lace up their shoes, load up the vans and head out for a run with beef in hand. The group goes with an intention of meeting people from outside the state who have mutual interests in healthy living, the outdoors and running. The Montana Running Ranchers is a group of 12 members from across the state (and surrounding region) who are passionate about ranching, beef and running. They share their experiences with other runners from across the country; while spreading awareness of Montana’s ranching community and how beef can be an important part of a healthy diet.

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Montana Cattlewomen Announce Recipient of Scholarship

Allie Nelson, a Junior at Montana State University – Bozeman has been selected as the 2016 Montana Cattlewomen’s scholarship recipient. This $1000 Memorial Scholarship is made possible through donations given in memory of friends and loved ones of Montana Cattlewomen. Allie is majoring in agriculture relations with a leadership option. Allie’s accomplishments include serving as a Montana Beef Ambassador, Montana State FFA officer, and mentoring younger 4-H members; advocating for agriculture every step along the way. Allie plans to work for a non-profit organization after graduation. Allie is from Great Falls, MT; her parents are Ron and Becky Nelson.

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Senate Holds Oversight Hearing on Sage Grouse Habitat Management  

Source: National Cattlemen's Beef Association WASHINGTON (June 28, 2016) – Today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining held an oversight hearing on the Federal sage grouse plans and their impact to successful ongoing state management of the species. Brenda Richards, Owyhee County Idaho rancher and president of the Public Lands Council, testified on behalf of the PLC and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Richards said that any Federal management plan must first recognize the essential contribution of grazing to conservation. “Ranchers across the west have a vested interest not just in the health of their livestock, but in the rangelands that

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Veterinary Feed Directive Impacts Feed-Grade Antibiotics

by Megan Van Emon, Ph.D. - MSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist The new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) rule will change how medically important antibiotics are fed to livestock.  The rule does NOT include the use of injectable antibiotics.  Previously, feed-grade antibiotics have been labeled for control, treatment, prevention, growth promotion, and feed efficiency.  The VFD rule results in the removal of the statements and uses of feed-grade antibiotics for growth promotion and feed efficiency. Guidance for Industry proposal #209 concerns the use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals.  Guidance for Industry proposal #213 focuses on the drug companies and recommending they volunt

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Montana Stockgrowers Association sends two attendees to elite cattle industry conference

Representing Montana Stockgrowers Association, Ariel Overstreet-Adkins and Andy Kellom participated in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s 2016 Young Cattlemen’s Conference. Over 50 cattle producers from across the country and across the industry attended the conference. Andy Kellom hales from Hobson, MT. He is currently cattle manager for Bos Terra LP which is a 15,000 head feedlot and up to 7,000 head stocker operation. Andy is responsible for day-to-day cattle management. Andy was born and raised in Dubois, Idaho. He was involved with his family’s ranch from a young age.  Andy’s love of the beef cattle business started her

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Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Shaelyn Meyer

Written by Shaelyn Meyer   Being a part of the Montana Stockgrowers Leadership Series has challenged me in so many ways; some more personal than I feel comfortable sharing with the world. I will share a few personal details about why this has been an impactful program for me: It’s a very, VERY huge responsibility to be heard. It’s something that I’ve always shied away from. It’s scary! When you step up to be heard you’re opening yourself up to attack from anyone who might flat out disagree or just misinterpret what you’re saying. Let’s face it, what you SAY, is often not at all what people HEAR. Effective communication takes skill, skill comes from practice, and practice is best performed wit

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Stockgrowers’ MidYear Meeting Ends in Great Falls

The 2016 Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Mid-Year Meeting, held in Great Falls on June 9 - 10, drew ranchers and members of the cattle industry from across the state for policy meetings, a leadership-training workshop, and a Tour of Ryan Dam.   Ranchers in attendance kicked off the event by taking part in a workshop with Carrie Mess. Mess is a dairy farmer, blogger and ag-vocate from Wisconsin. Ranchers of all ages participated in the informative workshop, learning how to engage with their customers and effectively communicate their story.   A welcome reception was held to

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Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Weston Merrill

Post by Weston Merrill I was asked to write a blog post about my leadership brand. What intimidated me most were the words "blog post"! This relates to my leadership brand because my brand is difficult to define. I am all about being the maker of your own destiny. Whether we believe it or not at the end of the day we have control over how successful we will be. This includes how we feel about ourselves and others. My brand is not something that has one ingredient or that can even be defined in one word. It's much bigger than a blog post. The only way I can describe it would be that it can't be contained and that it's contagious, watch out!!!!!!!! The word that comes

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Attend the Sip & Sizzle Event in Billings this weekend

It is that time of year again to enjoy an afternoon of tasting wine and learning about the best summer grilling techniques! The Montana Beef Council hosts this annual event that will last from this Saturday June 18th from 3:00-7:00pm. Local chef Megan Jessee will be working hard to prepare complimentary beef samples and answer all of your questions. ESAP Auction There will also be an auction to support the Montana Environmental Stewardship Award Program starting at 6:00pm, Saturday! The ESAP acknowledges livestock producers who go the extra mile when it comes to preserving their land and enhancing the natural resources of Montana. Click here for more information on the ESAP Items to Auction:

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Meet the Leadership Series | Lacey Sutherlin

Lacey Sutherlin Stevensville, MT ------------------ About Lacey: Lacey Sutherlin was raised in Western Montana. Her parents are Mike & Janet Hunter. She has an older sister, Michele Hunter, who has a son and a daughter. Lacey enjoys being an Aunt. She also has a younger brother Isaac Hunter who works for Montana State University. Sutherlin attended college at Northwest College in Powell Wyoming for Agricultural Business and then went on to Montana State and received a bachelor's degree in both Animal Science and Agricultural Communications. She was part of the Livestock Judging team at bot

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Governor Gets Final Say in Year Round Bison in Montana

Source: Northern Ag Network If the Montana Department of Livestock and the Fish Wildlife and Parks can’t come to agreement on an issue of bison management, the governor gets to decide is the advice that the Montana Attorney General’s office is giving the Board of Livestock (BOL).  In this case, it means that Yellowstone Park bison will get to be in Montana year round. In April, the BOL had received a letter from the governor stating that since they had been unable to come to agreement with the Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) regarding a management change to the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IMBP) to allow year round tolerance f

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Supreme Court Upholds Landowner Rights in WOTUS

Source: Beef Magazine The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handed down a pivotal decision in the ongoing and protracted efforts by cattle producers and other landowners to protect themselves from the EPA, Army Corps of Engineers and the controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulations. The Supreme Court’s ruling in United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc., set a precedent that landowners may challenge the Corps’ jurisdictional determination specifying that a piece of property contains a “water of the United States.” The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association filed an amicus brief in support of Hawkes. NCBA President Tracy Brunner said this is a major victory for landowners across the country. “This case highlights the issues landowners and lan

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Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Casey Knudsen

  Post by Casey Knudsen Leadership has always been an important concept to me.  Growing up heavily involved in sports, I realized early on that without an efficient and empathetic leader, a team cannot perform to its full potential.  This understanding of group dynamics between a team and its leader has carried over with me from sports and other extracurricular activities into my post-secondary education and professional endeavors.  I strive on a daily basis to lead by example. I do not always meet my goal, but I believe that the ability to self-examine, understand where I am deficient, and try to improve in those areas is important in any leadership role. I als

Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Trina Bradley

2016 MSGA LEADERSHIP SERIES Post by Trina Bradley Last fall I applied and was accepted into the inaugural Montana Stockgrowers Leadership Series, which is a year-long “class” that will help mentor and develop fourteen young ag leaders from across the state of Montana. As you all know, I am a born and bred cattle woman. I eat, sleep and breathe cows, and I want to make sure that my daughter has every opportunity to carry on this lifestyle and keep this ranch in the family for years to come. Therefore, I have been working on stepping up and getting involved in ag advocacy for the past few years.

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Electric City to host Montana Stockgrowers Association’s MidYear Meeting

Electric City to host Montana Stockgrowers Association’s MidYear Meeting Helena, MT - The Montana Stockgrowers Association’s MidYear Meeting will be held June 9-11 in Great Falls at the Hilton Garden Inn. This year’s MidYear event will be highlighted by a Cattlemen’s College workshop, policy committee meetings and a tour of Ryan Dam! Mid-Year is one of two major meetings MSGA holds annually where members will gather to discuss the issues facing Montana ranching families and set interim policy to guide the association through the rest of the year. Topics that will be covered in policy committee meetings include the Yellowstone grizzly bear delisting, brucellosis, elk management, the bison quarantine and an update from the Department of Livestock’s executive officer. The Cattlemen’s College workshops presented by Carrie Mess will kick off events on Thursday afternoon. Ranchers will have the opportunity to learn how to effectively communicate their story

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MSGA’s Brucellosis and Bovine Tuberculosis Comments – Update of General provisions

May 16, 2016   Docket Clerk, USDA-APHIS Docket No. APHIS-2011-0044 Regulatory Analysis and Development PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8 4700 River Road Unit 118 Riverdale, Maryland  20737-1238   RE: Docket No. APHIS-2011-0044, Brucellosis and Bovine Tuberculosis:  Update of General Provisions   The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule to update the general provision of the Brucellosis and Bovine Tuberculosis programs.  Since 1884 MSGA has been the voice of Montana’s cattle ranching sector and today we represent nearly 2,000 members.   MSGA has been engaged in efforts to eliminate and mitigate the threat of Brucella abortus to the livestock industry in Montana for many years.   MSGA does generally support the continued effort to review current regulatory mechanisms and propose changes to these programs that allow for additional flexibility and

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2015 Legislative Score Card now online

After every legislative session MSGA puts together a score card so members can see how their legislators voted and whether they are supporting issues that are important to the membership. This information is really important to take into consideration when voting for next year's legislators. The 2015 Legislative score card is now available in our members only section. You will need to be logged into your account to view the score card. Follow the directions below to access the score card. Click this link. (You must be logged into your account. You can recover your password on the log in page - if you have forgotten it.) If you are having problems accessing the information, please call the office or email kori@mtbeef.org.  

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Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Chisholm Christensen

My personal leadership story and why I’m stepping up to live larger by being a part of this program Post by Chisholm Christensen Writing is one of the more difficult and important tasks a person can undertake; requiring the author to think critically and explain effectively their topic of choice. Through writing, more so than speaking, we are able to fine-tune, rework and continually reanalyze our position free from external judgement or input until we ourselves are satisfied with the presentation and tone of our offering. This very personal task provides the writer an opportunity for personal growth while at the same time cementing his or her ideas and thoughts about the theme to be dra

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Administration drops lesser prairie chicken appeal

Statement by Ethan Lane, executive director, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Federal Lands and Public Lands Council regarding the decision by the Obama Administration to drop their appeal of the federal court decision that overturned the listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. “We are pleased that the Administration has elected not to proceed with their appeal of Judge Junell’s substantive ruling vacating last year’s unfounded listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act. Voluntary conservation efforts like the Range-Wide Plan are working to recover the species and must be given an op

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Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Heather Fryer

Post by Heather Fryer This year, I was selected to participate in the Inaugural Stockgrowers Leadership Series, a 12 month program hosted by the Montana Stockgrowers Association, designed to help participants succeed in their careers. What I have gathered from the class in the first four months has been more than I could have imagined. The networking has exceeded my expectations. My classmates are hilarious, friendly people, who support each other, and we’ve all made friends in this leadership series.  We’ve learned about various operations and perspectives, shared ideas and had great discussions.  We don’t

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Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Justin Iverson

STEPPING UP AND LIVING LARGER…. by Justin Iverson Backseat drivers. The first to speak up and the last to get behind the wheel. This year I took a risk, stepped out of my comfort zone and jumped into the driver’s seat. I’ve held leadership positions throughout the years but never felt fully at home. Most of the time I fell into those positions because no one else would take them and I have a problem saying no if asked. Feeling the need to sharpen the axe a bit I decided to take advantage of an opportunity through the Montana Stockgrowers Associa

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REEF Announces winner of scholarship

MSGA's Research Education and Endowment Foundation announces winner of Educational Heritage Scholarship Amanda Williams has been chosen as the recipient of the $1000 Scholarship. Amanda is from Miles City, Montana where she grew up on the family ranch, 2DO Ranch. She is currently attending Montana State University where she is majoring in Animal Science with a minor in Rangeland Management and Ecology. Though she is only finishing her second year at MSU, she is already at a junior status. She plans to become a county extension agent after graduation following in the steps of her father, grandfather and grandmother. Amanda believes this will be an excellent career for

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Local Photographer Invited to Promote Montana ranching

Modern Farmer’s Instagram account will feature Todd Klassy photographing Montana ranchers BILLINGS, Mont. – (April 27, 2016) – Todd Klassy, farm and ranch photographer from Montana, will be the guest Instagrammer for two days, April 30 and May 1, as he shares images, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at Montana ranching. Agriculture is Montana’s number one industry and ranks second in the United States with land in farms and ranches, totaling nearly 59.8 million acres. Modern Farmer is the authoritative resource for today’s cutting-edge food producers and consumers: the farmers, wannabe farmers, chefs and passionate home cooks who are influencing the way we eat right now, according to the company’s website. Modern Farmer sees themselves as the voice behind the food movement, delivering investigative journalism and rich photography. In search of rich photography, Todd Klassy’s images and stories will bolster local food, cowboys and cowgirls

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From the Great Falls Tribune: Death Camas Warning Issued in Yellowstone County

What is Death Camas and why is it killing Montana cows? Source: Great Falls Tribune David Murray, dmurray@greatfallstribune.com   The slender green plant is known as Death Camas, and given the right environmental conditions it can easily live up to its ominous name. Over the past week, at least four cows in Yellowstone County have died after consuming lethal quantities of the plant. In one case a dead cow was found with a Death Camus plant still hanging out of its m

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REEF Announces Selections for Young Cattlemen’s Conference

MSGA's Research & Education Endowment Foundation Announces Selections for Young Cattlemen's Conference Helena, MT - Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Research & Education Endowment Foundation (REEF) has selected two delegates to represent MSGA at the Young Cattlemen’s Conference this year. Andy Kellom of Hobson, MT and Ariel Overstreet-Adkins of Helena, MT will represent MSGA at this year's conference. The Young Cattlemen’s Conference, held June 1 – June 9, is an opportunity for cattlemen and cattlewomen between the ages of 25 and 50 to visit segments of the beef industry in other parts of our nation with young cattlemen from other states. Facilitated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), participants will travel with national attendees to Denver, Chicago and Washington D.C. The p

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MSGA, MASGD &PLC File Brief in Grazing Allotment Case

Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Public Lands Council, Montana Association of State Grazing Districts, along with the Southwestern Montana Stockmen’s Association, and National Public Lands Council filed our amicus brief on March 24th, in the case regarding two grazing allotments in the Gravelly Mountains.  The case was brought forward by the Gallatin Wildlife Association, with claims that grazing would cause irreparable harm to grizzly bears and bighorn sheep.  This case would directly affect permittees Helle Livestock and Rebish/Konen livestock, as well have potential national significance.  The case is being heard in front of U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris.  Judge Morris denied the original injunction and the case will proceed with oral arguments scheduled for May 26th in Great Falls.  The briefs in the case are available for review below, including briefs filed by the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Montana Wool

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Beltway Beef discusses WOTUS with Scott Yager, NCBA Environmental Counsel

Chase Adams discusses legislative and litigation efforts against the EPA's WOTUS rule with NCBA Environmental Counsel, Scott Yager. [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/260810937" params="color=ff5500" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

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Leadership Series Guest Blogger: Katelyn Dynneson

The Leadership Series was challenged this month to write a blog post that shares their personal leadership story and why they're stepping up to live LARGER by being a part of this program. Below we are sharing Katelyn Dynneson's blog post. Katelyn is the 4th generation on her family’s operation where they run a custom back-grounding feedlot, cow-calf operation and farm. She attended Montana State University and received a BS in Agricultural Business with a second major in Economics. Katelyn returned to the farm full-time after college and I have been loving every minute of it. Thanks for sharing this with us Katelyn!

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MSGA Leadership Travels to Washington D.C. to Advocate Top Priorities Facing Montana’s Cattle Industry

Helena, MT - A leadership delegation from the Montana Stockgrowers Association traveled to Washington D.C. April 12-14 to lobby numerous issues with Congress and Federal agencies. These issues included: Eradication of Brucellosis, Country of Origin Labeling for U.S. Beef, stopping the proposed federal bison quarantine facility, federal water regulations, sage grouse, endangered species, Antiquities Act (i.e. monument designations) reform and international trade. MSGA brought forth tactical ideas to eliminate the threat of Brucellosis expansion beyond Montana’s Designated Surveillance Area (DSA). In a meeting with Dr. T.J. Myers, Associate Deputy Administrator with USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services MSGA requested that Brucella Abortus be removed from the USDA and Center for Disease Control’s select bioterrorism agents list. This would allow for more research to develop a more effective vaccine for bison, elk and cattle. MSGA also requested continued federal funding support for

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Capturing Montana’s Ranching Legacy and Celebrating Earth Day

Nominations, applications open for Environmental Stewardship Award   Montana ranchers depend on the health of their land and its resources to make a living and support their families. That means working to protect and improve the environment just makes sense to most cattlemen, Sidney, Montana rancher Jim Steinbeisser says. But ranchers often think of it as ‘good business,’ rather than a particular brand of ‘environmental stewardship.’ Steinbeisser chairs the state’s Environmental Stewardship Award Program task force, a program focused on showcasing how innovative stewardship and good business go hand-i

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Rancher Discusses Critical Habitat Designations

NCBA Federal Lands Committee Chair Robbie LeValley discusses the potential consequences of Fish and Wildlife Service's recently finalized rule regarding critical habitat designations, which expands their ability to designate habitat.   - See more online.   [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/259844275" params="color=ff5500" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

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Meet the Leadership Series | Justin M. Iverson

Justin M. Iverson Hometown Potomac About 3rd generation Montanan working on the family cow/calf operation. Bachelor's Degree from The University of Montana in Health and Human Performance; Go Griz! Married to a wonderful 5th generation Montanan. Occupation Rancher, Greenough Potomac Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief What sparked your interest in agriculture? Mom and Dad kicked each son in our family off the ranch to find our own path. After 12 years of living in rural Central Oregon, I

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USDA value-added producer grant funding available

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA, Rural Development State Director John Walsh today April 8th that USDA is making up to $44 million available to farmers, ranchers and businesses to develop new bio-based products and expand markets through the Value-Added Producer Grant program.  “Agriculture is Montana’s largest industry and adding value to this industry’s products will only help Montana’s farmers, ranchers, and rural business owners increase economic opportunities for their families and communities” said Walsh. “The Value-Added Producer Grant program is an under-utilized program in Montana.  This program can help expand agriculture markets and deliver a higher dollar return to producers.” Value-Added Producer Grants help eligible applicants enter int

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MSGA member, Hinman Angus, sells $350,000 bull

Legendary northwest Montana bull sells for $350,000 By Tom Lutey / Billings Gazette Malta, Montana -- With a $350,000 sales price Tuesday, a northwest Montana bull known as HA Cowboy Up can fairly be referred to as the Ferrari of the black Angus, though rancher Dave Hinman says the number that originally excited folks is much smaller: 4.25. The most expensive bull anyone can remember first turned heads as he gained 4.25 pounds a day, a staggering amount of weight for any bull, but particularly for one with a medium frame. It’s a big part of what made Cowboy Up the rancher’s version of the Powerball. Buyers from as far away as New England gathered Tuesday at Hinman Angus Ranch near Malta to bid on Cowboy Up, a bull that had the Hinman family’s phone ringing for 60 days leading up to the sale. There were literally groups of

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MSGA continues to oppose Bison Expansion | concerns left unaddressed

Governor’s bison plan OK’d; will reduce hazing near Yellowstone Source: Bozeman Daily Chronicle By Michael Wright Chronicle Staff Writer WEST YELLOWSTONE — State, federal and tribal agencies agreed on Wednesday to adopt the governor’s plan to allow some bison to stay in Montana year-round, a move officials say will reduce bison hazing done each year near West Yellowstone. Th

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Meet the Leadership Series | Brenda “Bre” Ochs

Bre Ochs Home town Great Falls About I was born and raised in Great Falls. My grandparents are the original owners of this beautiful ranch in which I live on and operate with my family. After graduating high school, I graduated secondary college for Business; continued on with my education by graduating and receiving my Cosmetology license.  I was an active Independent Cosmetologist for 12+ years. In 2002 I became a co-owner of Oak Tree Constructions, Inc. and shortly after that, I began my own Bookkeeping services, Future Contractors, Inc., in which I operate both currently.

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After criticism, federal officials approve Eastern Montana irrigation project

By Tom Lutey Source: Billings Gazette Image by Larry Mayer/Gazette Staff Eastern Montana farmers will not go without irrigation water this summer now that federal officials have greenlighted Yellowstone River diversion work. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will allow the Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project to use boulders to rebuild a century

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MSGA Member Elected to AQHA’s Executive Committee

Though AQHA operates primarily upon the decisions of its members through the board of directors, the five-person executive committee is responsible for implementing these important decisions and governing AQHA between the annual meetings of the membership and the board. The AQHA Executive Committee - consisting of a president, first vice president, second vice president and two additional members - is elected each year by the board at the AQHA Convention. Each member serves a term of one year until the selection of his/her successor. The executive committee convenes bimonthly at AQHA International Headquarters in Amarillo to conduct business and consider all disciplinary matters.

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Over $1.6 Million Awarded to Combat Noxious Weeds in Montana

Every county and tribal reservation is eligible for $7,500 in funds The Montana Department of Agriculture announced the award of over $1.6 million for the development and implementation of noxious weed management programs.  The Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council reviewed 86 Noxious Weed Trust Fund grant applications requesting over $2 million and recommended awarding over $1.6 million for education, research, and cooperative noxious weed management projects. The advisory council met the first week of March to review applications and make selections to assis

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Meet the Leadership Series – Casey Knudsen

Casey Knudsen Hometown Malta, MT About 5th generation rancher, mechanical engineer, firefighter, EMT, and I am running for the Montana House of Representatives. Occupation Rancher, engineering design What sparked your interest in agriculture? I was raised on my family's farm, and I have always had a deep connection to the land, animals, and way of life we have here in rural Montana. What makes a great leader? I believe a great leader must be able to empathize, because if you can't understand the people around you, you can't encourage them to reach their full potential. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? I want to pick up a second language. Where do

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MSGA Leadership Series featured on Podcast

Wondering what the leadership series has been up to? Wondering who has been working with these future leaders? Check out this Agriculture Proud podcast that features Sarah Bohnenkamp, a leadership coach that is helping our leadership series blaze trails! She helps "young professionals get real with themselves. With their desires. With their strengths and special talents. With their values." Sarah, the former Executive Director for the Denver based American National CattleWomen, will coach the class in a series of workshops, webinars and at-home tasks throughout the year. Bohnenkamp has more than 14 years’ experience with leadership development and is familiar with topics faced by the ranching industry, having trained youth for the National Beef Ambassador program for many years. Want to learn more ab

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NCBA names new chief executive officer

Source: NCBA The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has named Kendal Frazier its new chief executive officer. NCBA president Tracy Brunner made the announcement, saying he is confident that the nation’s oldest and largest cattle industry association is in good hands. “It was the belief of the officers and others involved with the search process that NCBA owed it to our members, our stakeholders and the beef community to take our time as we selected the right individual to serve as the next chief executive officer,” said Brunner. “Today, we can say with confidence that Kendal Frazier is the right leader for the association. With many years of experience working for state and national beef organizations, he has helped to guide our industry through some of its greatest challenges. “Kendal’s dedic

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Montana State University Extension hosts on-farm success workshops

Planning for on-farm success workshops in Gallatin County begin March 26 Source: MSU News Service Montana State University Extension in Gallatin County will host the planning for on-farm success four-workshop series starting Saturday, March 26. Workshops are intended for beginning or experienced farmers and ranchers to improve business skills and provide the skills and resources needed to launch a business in Montana. The planning for on-farm success program is modeled after successful farmer training programs from across the country to help build a sustainable, successful farm business in Montana. MSU Extension in Gallatin County is partnering with the Community Food and Agriculture Coalition to offer the workshops. Hands-on courses will be taught

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Meet the Leadership Series – Tony Johnson

Tony Johnson Hometown: Dillon, MT Occupation: Cow-Calf Operator About: I grew up and work on a family ranch based just outside of Dillon. We run a commercial cow herd made up mostly of Angus and Red Angus that calve in August and September. The cowherd runs on leased pasture from January through October. Upon graduation from Northwest College, with an Associates in Farm and Ranch Management, I moved to Livingston and I took over the day to day management on a lease we had just acquired. During that time I also managed a marketing association in Park County for three years. Today I manage the ranch’s four leases in Park County and spend about nine months of the year there. The remainder of my time is s

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MSGA Voices Support for the Delisting of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Grizzly Bear

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed the delisting of the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as it has recovered and no longer meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, as amended. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the GYE grizzly bear population has increased in size and more than tripled its occupied range since being listed and that threats to the population are sufficiently minimized. MSGA is in full support of the delisting of the GYE grizzly bear and will be submitting formal comments. If you would like to submit comments you may through the federal register; the deadline for comments is May 10, 2016. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the MSGA Office or kori@mtbeef.org.

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