MSGA News

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EPA Requests Comments on Extending the Timeline for Pesticide Applicator Rule

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

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Stockgrowers comment on announcement of U.S. beef access to China

Helena, Mont. (May 12, 2017) - The Montana Stockgrowers Association issued the following statement regarding the announcement that an agreement has been reached between the White House and China to restore U.S. beef access: "As the second largest importer of beef, we are extremely excited that an agreement has been made to restore U.S. beef to China. Montana’s ranchers have been waiting since 2003, to ship the nation’s highest quality beef to China’s 1.3 billion consumers.” Errol Rice, Executive Vice President, Montana Stockgrowers Association. ### The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit organization representing nearly 2,500 members, strives to serve, protect and advance the economic, political, environmental and cultural interests of cattle producers, the largest sector of Montana’s number one industry – agriculture.

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Montana to Welcome New Ag Education Specialist

From Northern Ag Network: After an extensive search process, Montana will soon have a new high school Agricultural Education Specialist, now that the open position has been accepted by a 13-year Ag Ed Instructor and FFA Advisor from Doddridge, West Virginia. Shannon Boswell grew up along the Ohio River in Parkersburg, WV where her love of agriculture began at an early age.  From weekends at her aunt and uncle’s farm, through 4-H where she showed horses and developed an interest in public speaking, to her involvement as an FFA Member in the Blennerhassett FFA chapter, agriculture has shaped Shannon’s passion for serving others. After completing her major in Agricultural Education at West Virginia University with a Master of Science degree, Shannon began her teaching career in 2004, starting a new agricultural program in Summ

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Podcast Update || MidYear Meeting 2017

Kori and Errol discuss highlights of this year's MidYear Meeting and why this is one event you don't want to miss out on! [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/321990975" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

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Montana Mountain Snowpack Looking Good Entering Runoff Season

Streamflow Forecasts above Average for Spring and Summer After low flows in some of Montana’s rivers last summer caused issues for irrigators, anglers and recreationists, the spring and summer runoff this year looks to yield above average streamflows, according to snowpack data released by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Snowpack across the state is above normal for May 1 in all but a few sub-basins. Basins west of the Divide, which typically peak during the month of April, are all above normal with high elevations still gaining as of the end of the month. East of the Divide, where snowpack at higher elevations typically peaks a bit later towards the end of April to mid-May, also saw excellent gains during the month. “Last month there was some concern over the lack of snowpack in some basins east of the Divide that provide irrigation and municipal drinking water, but April provided relief via abundant mountain snowfall and valley precipitation,”

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NRCS Sets Program Funding Application Cutoff for June 2

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has set a June 1, 2017, application cutoff for agricultural operators to be considered for 2018 conservation program funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. NRCS provides funding and technical assistance to help farmers and ranchers implement conservation practices that provide environmental benefits to help sustain agricultural operations. Conservation program participation is voluntary and helps private landowners and operators defray the costs of installing conservation practices. NRCS accepts conservation program applications year-round; however, applications for 2018 funding consideration must be submitted by June 2, 2017. Applications made after the June 2 cutoff will be considered in the next funding cycle. Additional information is available on the Montana NRCS website at www.mt.nrcs.usda.gov under the Programs tab or you can cont

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Montana’s 65th Legislative Session || Legislative Wrap-Up

That's a wrap on Montana's 65th Legislative Session. Jay and Kori sit down to discuss the outcome of 10 of the bills that were on MSGA's Priority List this year. Our lobbying focused on taxes, property and water rights, wildlife management, regulation and agency funding. Questions? Please email Kori or contact the office at 406.442.3420.   [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/320739093" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

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DEADLINE EXTENDED: NCBA, PLC Accepting Fall Law Clerk Applications

WASHINGTON (May 2, 2017) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council’s government affairs office in Washington, D.C., has extended the law clerk application deadline for the 2017 fall semester. The new deadline to submit an application for the position is June 1, 2017. NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall said

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U.S. Ag Secretary Perdue to attend Montana Ag Summit

From the Great Falls Tribune by David Murray: Montana Sen. Steve Daines announced Wednesday that newly confirmed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will deliver a keynote address at the 2017 Montana Ag Summit in Great Falls five weeks from now. The Montana Ag Summit, co-sponsored by Daines and the Montana Chamber Foundation, will take place in Great Falls on May 31 and June 1. It will bring some of the nation’s highest-profile agricultural leaders to Montana’s Golden Triangle to meet with the public and discuss ongoing efforts to strengthen Montana agriculture’s international relationships, showcase current technological advancements and examine the challenges of federal policies and regulations for both the current and future generations of farmers and ranchers. “I’m excited to host Secretary Perdue in Montana

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Sen. Daines Releases Welcome Video for Montana Ag Summit

The summit, co-sponsored by Daines, will take place in Great Falls on May 31 and June 1, 2017. The Montana Ag Summit will bring the nation’s agricultural leaders to Montana’s Golden Triangle. The summit will focus on strengthening international relationships for Montana agriculture, showcasing technological advancements, promoting the next generation of farmers and ranchers, and discussing the challenges of federal policies and regulations. Held in conjunction with MidYear Meeting 2017, you will receive a complimentary ticket to the Ag Summit with your MidYear registration. The MidYear Meeting is one of two meetings that is held to set association policy that guides the Association through the year. While the main focus of the meeting is for the setting of interim policy we also use the meeting as a networking opportunity for the MSGA membership. Ranchers and allied industry professionals gather together from across the

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Advanced Genetic Technology in Beef Cattle Lectureship offered in Bozeman

In recent decades, genetic technology has evolved at a rapid pace. Keeping up with the genetic selection and evaluation innovations, and understanding which advancements are practical for your operation can be daunting. This lectureship will not only strengthen the foundational understanding of genetic principles among attendees, but it will also build upon them to enable attendees to apply advanced genetic technologies in the real world of seedstock and commercial cattle production. Montana State University Extension has partnered with the King Ranch® Institute for Ranch Management to offer its Application of Advanced Genetic Technology in Beef Cattle lectureship May 8-9, 2017, in Bozeman at the GranTree Inn. Drs. Matt Spangler and Bob Weaber, beef cattle genetics experts, will lead the lectureship. Registration is $300, which includes all workbook materials, refreshments, and meals. Online registration is available

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Calfhood vaccines, or, what are all those clostridial diseases?

From CowSense Chronicle by Rachel Endecott, Beef Cattle Specialist As April is turning to May, some folks in Montana are already branding while some are still calving. This month, we’ll focus on calfhood vaccination programs, which are most often based around the clostridial diseases. Producers may add other vaccines (pinkeye, H. somnus or other respiratory vaccines, etc.) depending on their situation and veterinarian recommendations. Clostridial diseases in calfhood vaccines belong to same genus as tetanus and botulism. Clostridial organisms are generally found in the animal’s body, but with ideal conditions, grow very rapidly to cause a disease state. Because of this, affected animals are usually found dead, not sick.

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Week 16 || Montana’s 65th Legislature

It is day 82 of Montana's 65th Legislature. This week Jay and Kori discuss aquatic invasive species, workers' compensation insurance, property valuation, well setbacks and state laboratories. Have any questions? Email kori@mtbeef.org or call the office at 406.442.3420.   [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/318834567" 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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63 Indicted in Brazilian Beef Scandal

By Greg Henderson Federal Police in Brazil has indicted 63 people for their role in a vast corruption scheme within the Ministry of Agriculture. The charges allege federal auditors at meat processing facilities took bribes for years in exchange for fraudulent sanitary permits. The probe into Brazil’s meat corruption was launched March 17, 2017, by Brazil’s Federal Police. Brazil, the world’s largest beef and poultry exporter and the fourth largest exporter of pork, saw its exports drop to near zero within a week of the scandal’s announcement, though most export sales have resumed. The suspects in the case are charged with falsifying medical records and certificates, tampering with food products, conspiracy and corruption. One employee at a JBS processing plant in Brazil was included in the investigation, allegedly due to his relationship with federal inspectors. The employee was suspended.

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Daines Leads Congressional Delegation to China and Japan

Discussed Opening Chinese Markets to U.S. Beef Imports, National Security   U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that he recently returned from an official overseas congressional delegation trip to China and Japan including visits to Beijing, Chengdu, Lhasa, Hong Kong and Tokyo.   Daines met with China Premier Li Keqiang, as well as National People’s Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang, Vice Chairman Zhang Ping, National People’s Congress Lobsang Gyaltsen, Party Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Qi Zhala, Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Yoshihide Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary for Japan and Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry for Japan. Daines also toured Isogo Clean Coal Power Plant in Tokyo. In Hong Kong, Daines met with Carrie Lam, Chief Executive Designate, Hong Kong.   Daines stressed the importance of expanding trade opportunities for Montana agriculture and produ

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Week 14 || Montana’s 65th Legislative Session

This week Jay Bodner and Kori Anderson sit down to discuss aquatic invasive species, sage grouse, tax rates and more. Have any questions about the topics discussed? Contact the MSGA office at 406.442.3420.   [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/317377665" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

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U.S. to seek China access for beef, services: White House

By David Lawder | WASHINGTON from Reuters U.S. trade negotiators will try to hammer out deals with China over the next 100 days to resume imports of American beef and to allow U.S. access to China's closed services sector, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Monday. Spicer said that U.S and Chinese officials were still at the early stages of "fleshing out" a pledge by President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to develop 100-day plan to help reduce China's massive trade surplus with the United States that was made at their first meeting in Florida last week. Asked in a press briefing whether China had offered concessions on beef and financial services access, as reported by the Financial Times, Spicer said these sectors were among topics that U.S.-China talks would cover. "I think

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moving cattle montana pasture

Cattlemen Applaud Delay of GIPSA Rule, Call for Its Ultimate Demise

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) applauded today's announcement that the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) is delaying the effective date of its interim final rule an additional six months to Oct. 19, 2017.   “This is another step toward common sense and away from counterproductive government intrusion in the free market,” said NCBA President Craig Uden. “That said, while a delay is welcome, ultimately this rule should be killed and American cattle producers should be free to market our beef without the threat of government-sanctioned frivolous lawsuits.”   Two proposed rules and one interim final rule came out on December 20, 2016, one month before the end of the Obama Administration. The interim final rule regarding the scope of the Packers and Stockyards Act and the proposed rule regarding undue preference and unjust treatment have a direct negative impact on the cattle industry. Current system

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The Montana Stockgrowers Association travels to Washington D.C. to advance national policy

[caption id="attachment_6406" align="alignnone" width="980"] From L - R: MSGA Director of Natural Resources Jay Bodner, Helena; MSGA 2nd VP Jim Steinbeisser, Sidney; Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke; MSGA 1st VP Fred Wacker, Miles City; MSGA President Bryan Mussard, Dillon; Marcia Mussard, Dillon; MT PLC Chair Vicki Olson, Malta; ANCW VP Wanda Pinnow, Baker; MSGA EVP Errol Rice, Helena[/caption]   Helena, Mont. (April 6, 2017) - Leadership from the Montana Stockgrowers Association, the Montana Public Lands Council and the Montana Cattlewomen were in Washington, D.C. March 28th - 30th. They met with cabinet members of the Trump Administration, lawmakers and agency officials on issues important to the Montana ranching sector, including public lands grazing, sage grouse, beef checkoff legislation, environmental

MDA awards over $1.6 million in Noxious Weed Trust Fund Grants

Counties, conservation districts, local communities, tribes, researchers and educators across Montana will have more resources in the battle against noxious weeds after the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) awarded over $1.6 million in grants from the Noxious Weed Trust Fund. The Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council reviewed 74 Noxious Weed Trust Fund grant applications requesting more than $1.7 million and recommended awards totaling more than $1.6 million for education, research, and cooperative noxious weed management projects. In total, 70 grant proposals were approved for funding awards, including 49 local cooperative projects, 10 research projects, and 11 education projects. "Noxious weeds are one of the biggest threats facing Montana's lands today," said MDA Director, Ben Thomas. "The importance of these grants can't be understated; these groups are the boots on the g

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Tester endorses Perdue for Ag Secretary; urges speedy confirmation

From David Murray and the Great Falls Tribune: It has now been two and half months since Donald Trump was elected President, and the U.S. Senate has not yet scheduled a full vote to confirm former Georgia Governor, Sonny Perdue, as the next Secretary of the Department of Agriculture. On Wednesday, Montana’s senior senator Jon Tester, publicly endorsed Perdue for ag secretary and urged Senate leaders to speed up the confirmation process. “As a farmer and as Montana’s senator, I am honored to support Gov. Perdue so we can work together to support family farms and ranches across Montana,” Tester said in a prepared statement. “With planting season upon us, producers need the certainty of having a secretary responsible for strengthening our state’s number one industry.” Perdue, 70, was the last Cabinet member nominated by President T

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MSU to host annual agricultural research center field days across Montana

The public is invited to attend free annual field days across Montana to tour and learn about the people, places and projects involved with agricultural research at Montana State University's College of Agriculture and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station or MAES. Five research stations across the state and a local Bozeman campus farm will each host a field day this summer. “Statewide field days are a longstanding tradition where we invite the public to tour our facilities, meet our faculty and staff and learn about trends and progress in agriculture research that hopefully makes a difference in their lives,” said Barry Jacobsen, associate director of MAES. “What’s most important about field days is that they serve as an opportunity for statewide producers, farmers, ranchers and agribusiness to share successes and challenges face-to-face with faculty scientists and learn about what the university is doing in response to those challenges and needs. It’s a chance for faculty and st

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Daines, Tester Lead Senators Asking Trump to Prioritize Opening China’s Markets to U.S. Beef

39 Senators Sign Letter to President   U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester today led 37 Senators in a letter to President Donald J. Trump asking him to prioritize reopening China’s market to U.S. beef in his discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week.   “Opening this market to U.S. producers would create substantial opportunities for farmers and ranchers across the country as China has an import market in excess of $2.5 billion and is the second largest importer of beef in the world,” the Senators wrote. “The current environment of low commodity prices further emphasizes the significance of trade to U.S. farmers and ranchers and the beef industry overall.”    The Senators also underscored the quality of U.S. beef and the importance of expanding trade opportunities to increase economic opportunity for farmers and ranchers.   “

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USDA Authorizes Emergency Grazing in Response to President Trump’s Directive

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), acting in response to a directive from President Donald J. Trump, today authorized emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands located in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas – the three states which were most heavily impacted by ongoing wildfires which began on March 6, 2017.  USDA Acting Deputy Secretary Michael L. Young issued a memorandum authorizing the emergency grazing of cattle by ranchers, who are facing the ruination of their herds due to lack of sufficient grazing land.  The authorization is pursuant to appropriate restrictions and conservation measures, which can be found in the Acting Deputy Secretary’s memorandum. “Ranchers are facing devastating conditions and economic calamity because of these wildfires and they need some relief, or else they face the total loss of their herds in many cases,” said Acting Deputy Secretary Young.  “These measures will allow them to salvage what remains of t

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Update from the NCBA Legislative Conference

This week Jay and Kori sit down to discuss the Public Lands Council & National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Legislative Conferences held last week in Washington D.C. Jay along with MSGA Executive Vice President Errol Rice, MSGA President Bryan Mussard, First VP Fred Wacker, and Second VP Jim Steinbeisser, traveled to D.C. to engage with federal agencies and Montana's Senators. They were joined by Montana PLC Chair, Vicki Olson and American National CattleWomen Vice President Wanda Pinnow (past MT CattleWomen President).   [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/316062617" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

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Sharing the common bond of conservation

Ranch nominations open for Environmental Stewardship Award Program   Montana’s ranchers, conservationists, wildlife biologists, water quality experts, range scientists and hunting advocates share an incredible common bond: they each love the land and care about the animals and natural resources that depend on it. “There’s no doubt we have more in common than most of us think,” Jesse Tufte, the program officer for World Wildlife Fund’s Sustainable Ranching Initiative said. She’s especially keen on the state’s cattlemen and women who put in much of the legwork to conserve and steward the health of grasslands. “We need to learn from, listen to and understand how we can keep ranchers ranching, because they contribute so much to conservation.” For more than 25 years, the Montan

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U.S. Beef Industry to President Trump: Please Help Get U.S. Beef Back into China

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today sent a coalition letter to President Donald Trump, urging him to raise the restoration of U.S. beef access to China when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in April. Leaders from the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the North American Meat Institute also signed the letter. American beef producers have been denied access to China – a $2.6 billion import market -- since 2003. Last fall China announced that it had lifted its ban on imports of U.S. beef, but attempts since then to negotiate the technical terms of access have been unsuccessful. “We believe that access to the large and growing Chinese beef market is essential to the future health of the U.S. beef industry,” read the letter, which was signed by NCBA’s CEO, Kendal Frazier. “We understand that you have many important issues to discuss with President Xi, but we strongly encourage you to take this important opportunity to convey the urgent need for China to reopen its m

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Secretary Zinke Headlines Public Lands Council Legislative Fly-in

U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke addressed the livestock grazing industry today during the annual Public Lands Council’s legislative fly-in, in Washington D.C. Secretary Zinke said the agency hasn’t been the best neighbor, but he will be holding the agency accountable and will restore trust in the department. “We're going to manage our properties just like you (ranchers) would manage your private lands,” said Zinke. “ Washington D.C. needs to understand that we work for the people, not the other way around.” The Public Lands Council represents the 22,000 ranchers that utilize grazing permits on federal lands. PLC President Dave Eliason said Zinke was a welcomed addition to the conference and that the ranchers are looking forward to his tenure with the Interior Department. “Secretary Zinke has consistently

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JBS suspends Brazilian production amid meat scandal

From the Fence Post: JBS, the biggest meat packer in the world, has suspended production at 33 of its 36 Brazilian plants as other countries — though not the U.S. — ban Brazilian beef due to a corruption scandal, Reuters reported. A Brazilian police investigation alleges that meat processors paid bribes for inspectors to turn a blind eye to unsanitary or irregular activity and has led to challenges on the quality of Brazil's meat exports, Reuters noted. JBS and BRF SA, the world's largest poultry exporter, are among dozens of firms targeted in the meatpacking industry investigation by Brazil's Federal Police, but both companies have denied any wrongdoing, Reuters added. Egypt, China, Mexico, Canada, the European

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Week 12 || Montana’s 65th Legislative Session

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/314767955" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /] Jay and Kori are back with an update from Helena. They discuss aquatic invasive species (AIS), grizzly bears, and exempt wells!

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President Signs Resolution to Repeal BLM Planning 2.0

President Trump today signed a congressional resolution directing the Bureau of Land Management to repeal their Planning 2.0 Rule. Wyoming rancher and NCBA and PLC member Joel Bousman was in attendance at the White House for the signing. Ethan Lane, executive director of PLC and NCBA federal lands, applauded the action and called it a significant victory for western ranchers. “BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule would have caused a wholesale shift in management focus at BLM by prioritizing ‘social and environmental change’ over ensuring the multiple use of public lands,” said Lane. “When you couple the wholesale shift away from multiple-use with the elimination of stakeholder and local input, the rule was unworkable for western communities. We applaud the action by President Trump and look forward to working with the new Administration to bring together a streamlined planning process that works for livestock ranchers and the western communities that depend on the use of BLM lands.”

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Senator Daines sends letter to acting Deputy Secretary Young

On Wednesday, March 22, Senator Steve Daines sent a letter to Acting Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Michael Young, regarding the recent developments in Brazil where several meatpacking companies are being investigated for corruption and fraudulent inspections of meat intended for freign markets. “While I appreciate the initial steps USDA and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) have taken to implement even more stringent inspections on all meat imports from Brazil, I request that you utilize all appropriate and legal means necessary to ensure that U.S. consumers are not at risk to any tainted imported meat from Brazil or other countries,” noted Daines in his letter to Young. In the letter Senator Daines requests further information on the scandal and personally commits to working with the Acting Deputy Secretary to ensure the nation’s food supply remains safe and secure. MSGA requested Senator Daines elevate the issue to the incoming Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny

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Tester Announces Bill to Ban Brazilian Beef

Senator Calls for Import Ban Following the Sale of Rotten Meat   U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced legislation to temporarily ban the importation of Brazilian beef to protect American consumers from consuming rotten meat.   Following news that Brazilian meatpackers have been exporting rotten beef and trying to cover it up with cancer-causing acid products, Tester’s bill will place a 120-day ban on Brazilian beef imports. A 120-day ban will provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture time to comprehensively investigate food safety threats and to determine which Brazilian beef sources put American consumers are risk.   “We must take decisive action to ensure no family in Montana or anywhere else in this country is exposed to the danger of deceptive Brazilian beef processors,” said Tester, who butchers his own beef on his farm ne

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South Dakota TB strain previously found only in Mexico, new to U.S.

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) was identified in three beef cows during routine slaughter inspection by U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service inspectors at two Nebraska slaughter plants in February, 2017. The cows had been in feedlots in Nebraska and South Dakota since November, 2016. Market records were used to identify the herd of origin, which was tested by state and federal animal health officials, revealing additional infected animals. The herd remains quarantined and 41 infected animals have been removed from the herd. Final disposition of remaining animals in the herd is being determined. Thirteen adjacent herds, comprised of over 8,000 head, were quarantined for testing. One herd has been released from quarantine with negative results of testing in all cattle two years of age and older. Testing is in progress in the remaining adjacent herds and the majority of that work should be completed over

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Week 11 || Montana’s 65th Legislative Session

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/313455225" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]   This week Jay and Kori discuss grizzly bears, b. abortus, Director of Agriculture appointee, exempt wells and so much more.

Tester, Daines resume effort to overturn lynx decision

Montana senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines have rounded up a lengthy list of supporters for a bill to overturn a federal court decision on lynx protection. Republican Daines and Democrat Tester join Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, on the bill to reverse the Cottonwood decision, which found that the U.S. Forest Service must do a top-level review of new critical habitat for lynx under the Endangered Species Act. The decision name refers to the Bozeman-based Cottonwood Environmental Law Center, which won the case before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last year. The ruling was essentially confirmed when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a Forest Service appeal in October.

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Montana Department of Livestock investigates TB in S.D. herd

Helena, Mont. - The Department of Livestock (DOL) is investigating ties to Montana cattle from a tuberculosis (TB) infected herd in South Dakota. Montana is focusing on three distinct groups of animals:  Contact herds - herds that have shared pasture or fence line contact with the affected herd; Herds that have supplied animals to the affected herd; and Herds that have received animals from the affected herd. At this time, two Montana cattle herds that had contact with the South Dakota positive animals must undergo a tuberculosis test to confirm that the disease has not spread. Additional herds may be identified as the investigation progresses. The likelihood that Montana herds are infected is extremely low, however, the department is conducting a thorough investigation. “Following up on interstate movements after a detection of TB or other animal disease is a routine part of disease investi

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Week 10 || Montana’s 65th Legislative Session

We are back with an update from Jay and Kori. We have passed the halfway mark but things are not slowing down at the Capital. Below you can find a condensed recap of the bills discussed in the podcast. If you have any questions about the bills discussed please contact the MSGA office at 406.442.3420. [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/311765180" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="600" iframe="true" /]    

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Snowy February Improves Snowpack in Montana and Streamflow Prospects for Spring

 BOZEMAN, Mont., March 7, 2017 – February brought a notable change to the weather patterns that were experienced during the month of January, according to snowpack data collected by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Montana.   Record breaking snowfall for the month of February was experienced in northern and southern river basins of the state during the first two weeks of the month. Snow blanketed the Rocky Mountain Front at the beginning of the month, with low elevations and valleys receiving more than 3 feet of snow. Flattop Mountain SNOTEL (snow telemetry) site in Glacier National Park set a new record for February snowfall and received 12.5 inches of snow water during the month, well above the 30 year normal of 5.3 inches for February. Further south, Cooke City received copious amounts of snow, prompting the first ever “Extreme” avalanche warning for the area when Fisher Creek SNOTEL received 10.9 inches of snow water between Jan.

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Strong Finish for 2016 Red Meat Exports

U.S. pork and beef exports wrapped up an excellent 2016 performance with very strong December results, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork export volume reached a record 2.31 million metric tons (mt) in 2016, up 8 percent year-over-year and 2 percent above the previous high in 2012. Export value increased 7 percent from a year ago to $5.94 billion. December pork exports totaled 222,635 mt, up 18 percent year-over-year, valued at $564.2 million, up 20 percent. Exports accounted for 25.8 percent of total 2016 pork production and 21.5 percent for muscle cuts – up from 24.2 percent and 20.8 percent, respectively, in 2015. December ratios were 28 percent for total production and 23 percent for muscle cuts only – up significantly from December 2015. Export value per head slaughtered averaged $50.20 in 2016, up 4 percent from the previous year. The December average was $56.06, up 24 percent. Beef exports increased 11

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Landowners have until March 30 to apply for access tax credit program

Landowners have until March 30 to submit applications to Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks for enrollment in a new program called Unlocking Public Lands that may qualify a landowner for up to $3,000 in annual tax credits. Through this program, a landowner who enters into a contractual agreement with FWP to allow public recreational access across private land to reach a parcel of otherwise inaccessible state or federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or United States Forest Service (USFS) land is entitled to receive a $750 annual tax credit per contract, with a maximum of four contracts per year. The Unlocking Public Lands program is a product of the 2015 Legislature, which expanded a program called Unlocking State Land passed by the previous legislature. While Montana contains nearly 31 million acres of BLM, USFS, and state land, much of this land requires landowner permission to cross private land to reach the state or federal land. “Offering a tax credit in exchange for allow

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Cow Sense Chronicle || Night Feeding for Daytime Calving

Written by Rachel Endecott, Beef Cattle Specialist We’ve all experienced that middle‐of‐the‐night calving incident that sure would have been easier to manage if it had happened in the daylight. Some ranchers use an evening feeding strategy to shift more cows to calve during the day. A case study comparing two sets of calving data with different feeding times illustrates this phenomenon well (Jaeger, et al. 2008. Professional Animal Scien st. 24:247). One group of cows was fed between 6 and 8 am (15 years of data, 1210 observations) and another group of cows was fed between 4 and 6 pm ( 5 years of data, 537 observations). Researchers divided the day into six, 4‐hour periods starting at 6 am and recorded the number of cows who calved during each 4‐hour period. Cows who were fed in the morning had nearly equal distribution of cows calving during each period of the day. This resulted in nearly equ

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Comments sought on invasive mussels rules

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking comment on proposed amendments to rules needed to effectively contain, detect and prevent the risk of spreading invasive mussels and other aquatic invasive species to other state waters. Invasive mussel larvae were detected for the first time in Montana in October 2016 in Tiber Reservoir – and “suspect” detections turned up in Canyon Ferry Reservoir, the Missouri River below Toston Dam, and the Milk River. The discovery triggered a natural resource emergency in Montana and led to several recommended strategies to manage the threat of the mussels spreading.

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MSU Extension sets March 10 workshop on agricultural resiliency

BOZEMAN – Montana State University Extension in Gallatin County will host the workshop “Building Resiliency in Agriculture,” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, March 10, at the Gallatin County Extension office, located at 903 N. Black Ave., Bozeman. The workshop aims to improve farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to respond to variability and extremes in agricultural operations. Topics will include past, present and future climate; flexible stocking rates; emerging crops; weed management; irrigation efficiency and soil moisture measurement; and financial resiliency. To register, contact Emily Lockard, MSU Extension agriculture agent, or Brad Bauer, MSU Extension natural resources agent, at (406) 582-3280, gallatin@montana.edu. Attendees can also register at the Extension office in Bozeman. The workshop costs $10 and includes lunch. For more information, see: 

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Montana Stockgrowers Association commends confirmation of Representative Zinke

Helena (March 1, 2017) - The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) today applauded the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of the Interior. MSGA Executive Vice President, Errol Rice noted Zinke’s experience living in the west gives him a unique perspective of public land issues. “We are excited to see the confirmation of Congressman Zinke,” said Rice. “He has a thorough knowledge of natural resource issues and how the management of said issues impact the states. Representative Zinke has been a great advocate for Montana and ranching during his tenure in Congress. We look forward to continuing to be a resource for him on the complex and diverse issues that impact not only Montana but the nation.” ### The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit organization representing nearly 2,500 members, strives to serve, protect and advance the economic,

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Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame seeks nominations for Class of 2017

The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF&WHC) is seeking nominations for the 2017 Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame induction round. Every year, the MCHF&WHC honors living and historical figures that have made notable contributions to Montana’s western heritage. "People from across Montana are invited to identify those in their communities who are most deserving of inclusion in the hall of fame" said Mark Larson, MCHF&WHC board director. "Nominations are open and welcome from the public at large." 2017 marks the seventh year the MCHF&WHC will honor living inductees and the tenth year of honoring legacy (non-living) inductees. The MCHF&WHC Board of Trustees will cast votes to select one living inductee and two legacy inductees from each of the MCHF&WHC’s 12 Trustee Districts based on nominations from the public. Nominees can be men, women, ranches, stage coach lines, animals, hotels, etc.—anyone or anything that has made a notable co

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Trump Issues Executive Order on WOTUS

Today President Donald Trump issued an executive action ordering the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider their controversial Waters of the United States Rule. The WOTUS rule, which was issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers under the Obama Administration, was challenged in courts by more than 30 states, environmental organizations, and numerous industry groups including the National Corn Growers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. . In October 2015, a federal appeals court issued a stay preventing the rule’s implementation. The National Corn Growers Association said, “We appreciate the Trump Administration’s commitment to reducing regulatory burdens for America’s farmers and ranchers,” said NCGA President Wesley Spurlock. “We fully support the repeal of the WOTUS rule. Farmers and ranchers care deeply about clean water, but this rule had

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Daines to Lead Montana Ag Summit 2017

U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that he will be spearheading the Montana Ag Summit 2017 in Great Falls this spring. The summit, sponsored by Daines, will take place in Great Falls on May 31 and June 1, 2017. U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will deliver a keynote address at the summit. 'The summit will highlight our state's number one economic driver by bringing together agricultural leaders to discuss how to keep our agricultural heritage strong for generations to come,' Daines stated. 'Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of Montana's economy and I look forward to a Montana family conversation about the future of agriculture.' Audio of Daines' statement is available for download HERE. Chairman Pat Roberts: 'I am pleased to tra

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Costco Expansion Provides Even Greater Momentum for U.S. Beef in Korea

U.S. beef has been rapidly building momentum in South Korea, and received a further boost this week as Costco officially began converting its imported chilled beef selection from Australian beef to 100 percent U.S. product. The move follows a multi-year effort by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) to persuade store managers that sales of U.S. beef – a popular item at Costco – would match or exceed Australian beef sales due to revived consumer confidence in the safety of U.S. beef. Costco currently has 13 warehouses in Korea, with two new locations scheduled to open this year. On Feb. 13, Costco began transitioning two of those warehouses to 100 percent U.S. chilled beef. The others will be converted in May. In total, Costco’s move represents an opportunity for about 15,000 metric tons (mt) of incremental new beef business in 2017, said Jihae Yang, USMEF director in Korea. Yang noted that the theme of U.S. beef promotions in Korea has gradually moved from food safety to consume

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Week 8 || 65th Montana Legislative Session

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/309381958" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /] It has been a VERY busy week at the session. Jay Bodner and Kori Anderson sit down to discuss the week in Helena. Have questions? Call the MSGA office at 442.3420 or email kori@mtbeef.org. Click HERE for a written update.

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MSGA Now Taking Applications for Young Cattleman’s Conference

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about the structure of the U.S. cattle industry and gain insight on the legislative process that guides our business. Montana Stockgrowers Foundation will send one Montana delegate on this year’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC), held May 31 – June 8, 2017. Applications, due March 1, are available at mtbeef.org. The Young Cattlemen’s Conference 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 ranchers from other states. Facilitated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), participant

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Montana Stockgrowers Foundation offers Scholarship

The Montana Stockgrowers Foundation is offering an Educational Heritage Scholarship in the amount of $1,000. This annual scholarship is awarded to a MSGA student member.

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NCBA and PLC Accepting Applications for Summer Internships

Open Positions Include Public Policy Intern and Semester Law Clerk The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council’s government affairs office in Washington, D.C., is accepting applications for a 2017 Summer public policy intern as well as a semester law clerk. The deadline to submit an application for either position is March 1, 2017. The internships give college students the opportunity to work alongside staff on a range of issues that impact U.S. cattlemen and women. The interns will work closely with the lobbying team on Capitol Hill and assist with NCBA and PLC’s regulatory efforts, providing college students a one-of-a-kind view into the policy making process

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Week 7 || 65th Legislative Session

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/307782649" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /] Listen and Kori Anderson and Jay Bodner sit down to discuss the bills affecting Montana's ranching community. House Bills Appropriations Committee HB 126 - Ray  Shaw HD 71 - MSGA supported this bill. It passed 2nd reading 94-6 and was referred to the Appropriations Committee. This bill is important because it retains MSU Extension as lead in the private applicators license training. Natural Resources Committee  HB 433 - Bradley Hamlett HD 23 - MSGA will support this bill. It clarifies a city or town may not condemn water or water rights if the water or water right is used primarily for agricultural purposes. Judiciary Committee HB 427 - Austin Knudsen HD 34 - MSGA will support this bill. This bill clarifies an

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MT Department of Revenue mails livestock reporting forms for March 1 reporting deadline

The Montana Department of Revenue is mailing livestock reporting forms this week to Montanans who own livestock and need to meet upcoming reporting and payment deadlines.   About 18,500 livestock owners who reported last year will receive reporting forms. All livestock owners need to report by March 1, 2017, any livestock they owned as of February 1. Livestock owners can file online at ReportYourLivestock.mt.gov or submit the hardcopy form.    Livestock owners who have not reported in the past need to report online or fill out a reporting

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Regional Pesticide Education Trainings offered across Montana in 2017

The Montana State University Pesticide Education Program is coordinating regional initial pesticide training programs across Montana. These six hour training opportunities are designed for individuals desiring to learn more about pesticides as well as individuals desiring a private pesticide applicator license. A private pesticide applicator license allows individuals to apply restricted use pesticides on land they own, rent or lease. Training opportunities are available in Kalispell on March 7th, Harlowton on March 9th and Lame Deer on March 29th. Interested individuals can obtain more information and register for these events at the following website: http://www.pesticides.montana.edu/pat/education/initial-PAT.html. Each program will cover many subject areas of interest including integrated pest management, pesticide movement in the environment, pesticide safety and toxicity, pesticide law, calibrating ground spray equipment, understanding the private applicator license, reading a

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Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame honors inductees in Great Falls

The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF&WHC) honored its newest class of inductees during the 11th Annual Circle the Wagons Convention in Great Falls, Feb. 3-4 at the Best Western Heritage Inn. The weekend events began Friday evening, Feb. 3, with the Welcome Gathering, emceed by District Trustee KellyAnne Terry of Lewistown. On Saturday, Feb. 4, the Hall of Fame welcomed 34 new inductees during the morning recognition ceremony and brunch. Over 600 people attended the Circle the Wagons events. “Family and friends gathered in Great Falls from across the great state of Montana, Canada to Texas, Hawaii to Rhode Island, and as far away as Germany,” said Christy Stensland, MCHF&WHC executive director. “Attendees commented that the history lesson contained in the biographies of the inductees presented by District Trustee Will

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A “Huge Victory:” Cattlemen Hail U.S. House Passage of Resolution to Repeal BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council (PLC) today hailed U.S. House passage of a resolution that would repeal the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Planning 2.0 Rule, calling it a “huge victory” for America’s ranchers. If the U.S. Senate also quickly passes the resolution, it would go to the White House for President Trump’s signature. “For years, the Obama Administration ignored the concerns of ranchers and local officials and instead rammed through this massive regulatory overreach as they were being shown the door,” said Ethan Lane, Executive Director of PLC and NCBA Public Lands. “This is a huge victory for America’s cattle producers and a sign that some common sense is finally being restored in Washington.” “Planning processes are critical to the ability of grazing permittees to operate in the West,” Lane continued.  “The final rule's shift away from multiple use, as well as its disregard for both local input and economic analysis, m

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Montana CattleWomen Inc. offer $1000 Memorial Scholarship for the 55th Consecutive Year

For the fifty-fifth consecutive year, Montana CattleWomen, Inc. is offering a $1000.00 scholarship to a student from a Montana home that is enrolled in one of the state colleges or universities. Preference will be given to an applicant majoring in a field beneficial to the livestock industry. To qualify for this award, a student must currently be at least a sophomore (in college) and have a grade point average of 2.7 or better. The scholarship will be given to the student who is determined to have the best balance of grades, citizenship, and financial need. The winner will be announced after May, 2017. Application information will be available at college Financial aid Offices throughout Montana.  The application form is available on the Montana CattleWomen website:

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Record Attendance in Nashville as NCBA Members New Elect Officers

The 2017 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show wrapped up on Saturday with the election of Nebraska cattleman Craig Uden as the organization’s new president. More than 9,300 people attended this year’s convention, shattering the previous record of 8,200, to engage in grassroots policy process, hear from industry experts and attend the expansive tradeshow. Attendees enjoyed live music all week and closed the convention with a night at the Grand Ole Opry. Kevin Kester of Parkfield, Calif., was voted to serve as NCBA president-elect. Jennifer Houston of Sweetwater, Tenn., will serve as vice president. Jerry Effertz of Velva, N.D., is the new Federation chairman and the new Federation vice chair is Dawn Caldwell of Edgar, Neb. The new NCBA Policy Division chairman is Joe Guild, Reno, Nev. and Jerry Bohn of Pratt, Kan., is the new policy vice chairman. Uden, a fourth-generation cattleman from Elwood, Neb., said he is proud to lead the organization. “It is an honor to be selected

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$1,500 CME Beef Industry Scholarships Awarded to 10 College Students

Ten college students were awarded the 2017-2018 $1,500 CME Beef Industry Scholarships at the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show today. The scholarship was sponsored by the CME Group and administered by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF). Taylre Sitz of Bozeman, Montana, was the overall essay winner. “We’re pleased to continue our support of the CME Beef Industry Scholarships, which provide education to future beef industry leaders,” said Tim Andriesen, CME Group managing director of agricultural products. “Our partnership with NCF enables us to continue investing in accomplished university students who represent the next generation of food producers here in the U.S.” The CME Beef Industry Scholarship was introduced in 1989 in partnership with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Today this scholarship tradition remains strong by recognizing and encouraging talented college students who will one day be industry leaders. “We cannot emphasize enough how grateful

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Insider Shares Political Realities at Record-Breaking Cattle Industry Convention Dana Perino tells audience to “Expect the Unexpected”

Actions of the new administration are like “a dog on ice chasing a marble,” Dana Perino told an audience at the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 3. “You have to expect the unexpected.” Perino spoke to many of the more than 9,000 cattlemen and women at the event – a record number of attendees for any cattle industry convention – at Friday’s general session. The previous convention record was in Nashville in 2014, at just under 8,300. Renowned ag broadcast journalist Max Armstrong emceed the event, and introduced National Cattlemen’s Beef Association incoming president Craig Uden of Nebraska. Uden briefly visited with Armstrong about his vision for the organization and the industry. High Fidelity, a Nashville a capella singing quartet, sang patriotic songs to open and close the event. Perino was the press secretary for President George W. Bush for seven years and is now a panelist on The Five, which airs daily on the Fox News Channel. He

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Week 4 || Montana 65th Legislative Session

Listen to the podcast below for an update for the week ending January 27, 2017. MSGA's Director of Natural Resources, Jay Bodner, sits down with MSGA Manager of Communications, Kori Anderson, to discuss the past week at the Capitol. They discuss water bills,fence laws, the Department of Livestock and more!   [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/304833251" 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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MSGA applauds introduction of the death tax repeal act of 2017

The Montana Stockgrowers Association today applauded the introduction of legislation that would repeal the death tax. This week U.S. Reps. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) introduced The Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017 in the House while U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate. “MSGA has been advocating for the repeal of the death tax since its reinstatement in 2011,” said MSGA Executive Vice President Errol Rice. “This legislation will remove a burdensome tax that forces many ranches to go out of bu

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2017 Western Montana Grazing and Ag Conference (WMGAC) to be held in Missoula

Held Thursday and Friday, Feb. 9th and 10th at the DoubleTree Inn in Missoula, the Western Montana Grazing and Ag Conference (WMGAC) will bring together over 25 speakers!  Researchers, resource specialists and agricultural producers at both local and regional levels will be represented!  The conference will feature keynote speakers, educational concurrent sessions and panel discussions.  Food will be served including a light breakfast and full lunch both days and a social at Kettlehouse Brewery with BBQ dinner on Thursday night!  All this for $50 if registered before January 31stor $75 thereafter.  This is a great opportunity to learn about local agricultural innovation and connect with many of Montana’s exceptional farmers and ranchers!   The full agenda for the conference can be found HERE.  The WMGAC will f

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Cow Sense Chronicle: Wintertime Herd Bull Blues

Happy New Year! As I write, we are finally experiencing some above-zero temperatures here in Montana for the year, which are very welcome. During my travels to Extension programs this month (fondly referred to as Asphalt Cowgirl January), I've seen a lot of herd bulls out to winter pasture, and I'll be very honest with you - I have concerns about the future fertility of many of the bulls I've driven past. Protection from inclement weather is a critical factor in winter herd bull management because of the very real concern of frostbit of the scrotum. While mild frostbite generally has a good recovery rate, severe frostbite can leave a bull infertile. Scarring from frostbite can hinder a bull's ability to raise and lower the testicles for proper temperature regulation. This regulation depends on coordination of three structures: the tunica dartos muscle in the walls of the scrotum, which relaxes when hot and contracts when cold; the external cremaster muscle within the spermatic cord,

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Week 3 || Montana’s 65th Legislative Session

Listen to the podcast below for an update for the week ending January 20, 2017. MSGA's Director of Natural Resources, Jay Bodner, sits down with MSGA Manager of Communications, Kori Anderson, to discuss the past week at the Capitol. They discuss water bills, the Agriculture Coalition, fence laws and more! [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/303702127" 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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Zinke gets thumbs up from ag groups

Source: Rebecca Colnar for Tri-State Livestock News With the Senate Hearing for the Secretary of the Interior nominee Ryan Zinke completed, those most affected by federal lands management in the west are giving Montana’s sole Congressman a nod of approval. Throughout his opening statement, Zinke reiterated his willingness to meet with people most affected by the department’s policies, and listed his three immediate tasks. “The first is to restore trust by working with rather than against local communities and states,” Zinke noted. “I fully recognize that there is distrust, anger, and even hatred against some federal management policies. Being a listening advocate rather than a deaf adversary is a good start.” The Montana native said his second task would be to “p

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American Beef: Number One in South Korea

For the first time in 13 years, American producers in November surpassed Australia in beef imports that have cleared customs into South Korea.   The Korea Customs Service reported this week that 13,921 tons of American beef were brought into the country in November vs. only 10,310 tons from the Land Down Under. That's up 20 percent over November 2015, and export value is up 21 percent to $619 million - the highest it has been since July 2013.   Even better news for American beef producers is the fact that even before December's numbers are in, 2016's exports to South Korea have already shattered 2015's final tally of $847.4 million. From January through November 2016, American producers exported $929.3 million to South Korea - a whopping 25 percent increase. When December's numbers are reported, South Korea will join Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, and Mexico as the fifth nation to import more than $1 billion worth of American beef in a single year.   Overall

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SWCDM & NRCS team up to present Soil Health Workshops for landowners

The Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana are pleased to announce an upcoming series of workshops hosted in eastern Montana. The workshops will be held January 17, 18, & 19 in Great Falls, Billings, and Sidney, respectively. Dr. Dwayne Beck and Dan Forgey will be the featured speakers. They will speak to producers & landowners about managing cropping systems for soil health, including no-till drilling, diverse crop rotations, precision agriculture, integrating livestock into cropping systems, and more. Those interested in attending the workshops can learn more and register at swcdmi.org/soilhealth. Registration is $20 online (up to 3 days in advance) or $25 at the door. Please contact Ann McCauley, SWCDM, at ann@macdnet.org with questions.

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Montana Outfitters and Guides Association HOSTS MONTANA HUNTER ACCESS SYMPOSIUM

MSGA has several members on the landowner panel. We encourage members to attend and have their thoughts and opinions heard. Montana Outfitters and Guides Association HOSTS MONTANA HUNTER ACCESS SYMPOSIUM  January 14 from 8:00 to 12:00 Radisson Colonial Inn Helena, MT   As part of the 2017 MOGA Winter Convention the Association is hosting a Conservation Session dedicated to exploring the full-range of perspectives regarding Hunter Access in Montana.  The issue of access for hunters to both private and public lands has been with us for decades.  Come listen and participate in a forum designed to explore ALL perspectives of this issue in a respectful and informative setting.   Prepare to gain understanding of ALL perspectives that create the challenge of managing hunter access in today’s world.   We have assembled a VARSITY squad of speakers and p

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Gov. Bullock announces more cabinet appointments

MSGA has had conversations with both Martha Williams, the new director of the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Ben Thomas, the new director of the Department of Agriculture. MSGA will be setting up meetings with both directors once they begin their positions and looks forward to working with both directors. Source: Independent Record Montana Gov. Steve Bullock filled several key cabinet and adviser positions on Friday, including appointments to the state's departments of agriculture and fish and wildlife. Six cabinet members and key staffers resigned before the Democratic governor started his second term this month. With Friday's a

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Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame to honor inductees at Circle the Wagons Gathering in Great Falls, Feb. 4

The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF&WHC) extends an invitation to all to attend the 11th Annual Circle the Wagons Convention in Great Falls, Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Best Western Heritage Inn.   “We are excited to be celebrating our 11th anniversary of inductions into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame,” said MCHF & WHC President Jeff Bolstad. “We are honored to celebrate those who embody the qualities of our Montana communities and way of life.  If you are proud of your Montana Western heritage and wish to help preserve and pass it on to the next generation, we invite you to join us in Great Falls for this special event."   The Inductee Recognition Ceremony Brunch will begin at 10:30 a.m. to celebrate the notable accomplishments and lasting legacies of the inductees to the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Class of 2016. Tickets are $30 per person. Early registration is recommended as this event sells out well i

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Livestock Industry Lays Out Federal Lands Priorities for Trump Administration

The Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association issued federal land management priorities for the new administration to bring responsible management and economic viability back to the Western landscape. “Ranchers and other multiple-use interests in the West have been subjected to an almost wholesale shift in federal land management policy under the Obama administration,” said Dave Eliason, PLC president. “While the Bureau of Land Management has a clear directive to manage BLM lands for multiple use and sustained yield, instead focus has shifted

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Merry Christmas from MSGA

A very Merry Christmas to all of our members! As a reminder, the MSGA office will be closed through January 2, 2017. We look forward to another year spent protecting and enhancing Montana ranch families’ ability to grow and deliver safe, healthy, environmentally wholesome beef to the world! Thank you for your continued support of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

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USTR Defends U.S. Beef from European Mistreatment

Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced it will start the process of reinstating retaliatory tariffs on goods and products from the European Union due to the E.U.’s unfair treatment of U.S. beef. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Tracy Brunner applauds USTR Ambassador Michael Froman for standing up for the U.S. beef industry and taking action in defense of U.S. beef producers. “The European Union has left us no choice but to seek compensation for the long-standing mistreatment of U.S. beef exports,” said Brunner. “Our temporary agreement with the E.U. was meant to be an opportunity to build a bridge of trust between U.S. beef producers and E.U. consumers, and to

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NCBA Announces CME Scholarship Recipients

Montana brought home not one but two of the scholarships! A big Congratulations to Taylre Sitz for winning the overall essay! Taylre attends Montana State University and is active with the Collegiate Stockgrowers at Montana State University. Dan Johnson of Dillon, MT also received a scholarship; he is attending Kansas State University. Congratulations to these two stand-outs from Montana!   Ten top-notch college students, who are pursuing careers in the beef industry, have been chosen for the 2017-2018 $1,500 CME Beef Industry Scholarships. The scholarship is sponsored by the CME Group and administered by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF). Taylre Sitz of Bozeman, Mont., is the overall essay winner. “We’re pleased continue our support of the CME Beef Industry Scholarships, which provides education to future beef industry leaders,” said Tim Andriesen, CME Group managing director of agricultural products. “Our partnership w

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Why doesn’t the beef checkoff promote “U.S. Beef” domestically?

By Chaley Harney Executive Director, Montana Beef Council There has been a lot of recent discussion in the media among producers about why the beef checkoff doesn’t specifically promote “U.S. beef” in its domestic advertisements and promotions. We would like to provide some information that might help checkoff investors in Montana better understand why that is. It’s important to remember that state beef councils and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board all operate under the requirements of the Beef Act and Order – the enabling legislation under which our checkoff operates – and must remain in compliance with those documents. The Acts states the purpose of the Beef Checkoff Program as: “…carrying out a coordinated program of promotion and research designed to strengthen the beef’ industry’s position in the marketplace and to maintain and expand domestic and foreign markets and uses for beef and be

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MDA seeking applicants for Beef Genetics Trade Mission

The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is seeking applications from producers interested in attending the World Angus Forum, to be held in the United Kingdom June 20-July 2, 2017, as part of a beef genetics trade delegation. “This trade mission will be a great opportunity for producers to showcase Montana’s world-class beef genetics,” said Marty Earnheart, Business Development Marketing Officer with MDA. “I’m looking forward to the forum and the opportunity to help Montana’s producers network with their international counterparts.” MDA will select 5 to 7 applicants to serve as delegates for the mission. Applications are due January 31, 2017 and selections will be made shortly thereafter. Applications can be sent to mearnheart@mt.gov. The trade mission is made possible through a grant from U.S. Livestock Genetic Export, Inc.. Some travel expe

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Linda Swanz Named “Ranching Woman of the Year”

Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) recently recognized Linda Swanz as “Ranching Woman of the Year”. The announcement was made Friday, December 9 during the 132nd MSGA Annual Convention and Trade Show at the Radisson Hotel in Billings. Linda (Hannah) Swanz grew up in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains south of Moore, MT. She is the daughter of J.C. (Jack) and Betty Hannah. Linda has four siblings—John (Jean) Hannah of Torrance, CA; Marge Hannah of Helena; and Carol (Pete) Hannah Hinson of Billings. Linda graduated from Moore High School and then the University of Montana and went on to work as a social worker. She married John Swanz in 1968 and a few years later they moved to their current home, a ranch in the Snowy Mountains east of Judith Gap. Linda and John have two children, Lisa and Jaso

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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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