Linda Swanz Named “Ranching Woman of the Year”

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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 Jason. Linda has dedicated her life to ranching, and by extension, her family, for the past 48 years. A constant presence in the life of her family, raising her children, and now continuing to be a huge part in the lives of her four grandsons.

This year’s Ranching Woman of the Year has always been there to lend a helping hand:  from turning out pairs during calving, making sure everyone had a meal during brandings and shipping, hauling trailers, keeping the house and kids running, and even driving that old self-propelled square baler…even though her feet didn’t reach the pedals!

Linda is involved in the Central Montana Cattlewomen, the Montana Cattlewomen, and the Montana Beef Council. She was a 4-H leader for many years, has received honorary FFA degrees, and has been involved in numerous other agricultural and community related activities.

The Ranching Woman of the Year award is an annual honor presented during MSGA’s Annual Convention and Trade Show. Contact the MSGA office at (406) 442-3420 to find out how you can nominate someone for next year’s recognition. To learn about previous honorees, visit mtbeef.org/ranching-woman.

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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.

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 national level.

During the Northern Ag Network Lunch, ranchers learned more about exports and the global market from John Hinners, Jr., Assistant Vice President of Industry Relations with U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Members elected new directors and officers while in Billings. Bryan Mussard of Dillon, MT was elected President of MSGA. Bryan, along with his wife, Marcia, and family operate Reminisce Angus which sells 100 bulls annually and runs 350 mother cows. Bryan has been actively involved in the commercial feeding business for 40 years.  His operation weans, backgrounds, and develops 10-12,000 head of cattle annually and collects genetic data for customers through their Tracker marketing program. Bryan also manages ranches through the Big West Management Program. He will serve a two-year term through December 2018. Fred Wacker of Miles City was elected First Vice President and Jim Steinbeisser of Sidney was elected Second Vice President. They will also serve two-year terms through December 2018.

Convention coverage, photos, videos and information about membership programs can be found on the Montana Stockgrowers Association Facebook page or website, mtbeef.org.

The following are highlights in recognitions and awards during the Convention:

-Elections were held to fill positions on the Board of Directors due to expiring terms. Bryan Mussard of Dillon was elected as the new President of MSGA. Dan Moore of Miles City was elected to represent the Southeast District. Shane Eaton of Terry was elected to represent Southeast ranchers. Ed Fryer of White Sulphur Springs was elected to represent South Central ranchers. Race King of Dillon was reelected to serve a second term. Outgoing Board members include Tim Todd of Ryegate representing the South Central district, Terry Haughian of Kinsey representing the Southeast District, and Jim Steinbeisser of Sidney representing the Northeast District.

-Lacey Ehlke of Townsend was elected to a second term as Chair of the Young Stockgrowers committee. Tyrel Obrecht of Lewistown was re-elected as Vice-Chair. Ehlke and Obrecht will represent the Young Stockgrowers on the MSGA Board of Directors.

-The 2016 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award (ESAP) was presented to Two Creek Monture Ranch of Ovando, MT. The award was accepted by ranch managers Wayne and Karalee Slaght with their family. The ranch is a commercial cow/calf operation near Ovando, which exemplifies the qualities of ranchers focused on environmental stewardship, sustainability and conservation. As Montana ESAP winners, Two Creek Monture will compete at the regional level for the national ESAP recognition in Denver next summer.

-Linda Swanz was recognized as the Ranching Woman of the Year. Linda grew up in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains south of Moore, MT. She and her husband, John, have a ranch in the Snowy Mountains east of Judith Gap. Linda and John have two children, Lisa and Jason. Linda has dedicated her life to ranching, and by extension, her family, for the past 48 years.

 

-12 Cattlemen’s College workshops offered attendees several great opportunities for interactive learning about the tools available to improve management and record keeping on their ranches. Topics covered included cattle marketing, estate planning, nutrition, reproduction and cattle health.

-Montana Ford Stores continued their sponsorship for the eighth year to give one lucky MSGA member a 2016 Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup. This year’s winner was Jess Drange. Jess and his wife, Junita, ranch at their ranch near Ismay.

-For the second year, Montana Massey Ferguson dealers donated a tractor lease, which was raffled on Friday evening. Incoming President, Bryan Mussard of Dillon, won the 8-month/200-hour lease on the 130-hp tractor and loader. NutraLix donated a saddle, which went to Marian Hanson.

-Top Hand Club recognition was awarded to Bo Bevis of Winnett, who received a trip to Nashville, Tennessee for the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention.

-Policy meetings offered opportunity for attendees to hear updates on several issues affecting ranches, environmental and agricultural policy issues in the state. Representatives from Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Department of Livestock, Public Lands Council and USMEF were on hand to provide updates and insight on current events.

The Montana Stockgrowers Association meets annually to discuss and vote on policy measures, which guide the Association in representing its members on local, state and federal issues. MSGA’s 2016 MidYear membership meeting will take place June 9-11 in Great Falls. To learn more about Stockgrowers programs or membership, visit mtbeef.org or contact the office in Helena, (406) 442-3420.

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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.

[Hi-res photos are available for download on Flickr at http://bit.ly/2016MSGA. Contact Montana Stockgrowers for more information – (406) 442-3420]

Montana Stockgrowers to Host 132nd Annual Convention in Billings

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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 informative speakers and educational programs. You will also have a chance to bid on a John Deere Gator, win a lease on a Massey tractor or drive home a new Ford truck!”

NCBA President, Tracy Brunner will be the featured speaker during Thursday’s Opening General Session.

A broad range of educational workshops will be offered during the Stockgrowers College. Speakers will touch on topics of vaccination programs, calf health and nutrition, calf management, antibiotic use, Grizzly Bear management, UAV’s in agriculture, DNA technology, livestock marketing, risk management and estate planning.

Each night of Annual Convention will feature viewing of the NFR on the big screens. Thursday night will include the second NFR Calcutta at MSGA Annual Convention, benefiting the Montana Stockgrowers’ Foundation. Friday night will feature live music from Insufficient Funds Band.

Friday’s Grand Finale Banquet will be highlighted by the annual live auction for Cattle Directory Priority Page advertisements. Over $100,000 in prizes will be awarded including a Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup and a Massey Ferguson tractor lease.

Policy meetings will take place on Wednesday and Thursday of Annual Convention. Guest speakers will address a number of topics affecting Montana’s ranching communities during the past year and in months to come. They will set policy and priorities for the upcoming Legislative Session. A Trade Show with over 100 booth spaces will be open to the public Thursday and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

A full meeting agenda, hotel information, details of policy meeting discussions and Stockgrowers College workshops is available on the MSGA website at www.mtbeef.org. Online and discounted registration closes Thursday, December 1. On-site registration will be available starting December 7. For more information, contact the Montana Stockgrowers Association at (406) 442-3420.

 

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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.

Update from MSGA President Gene Curry

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 spent serving our industry in this “very large” state and will miss those opportunities. That being said, I know this organization will be in good hands with Bryan Mussard as your new president.

Monday the 10th we woke up to our first taste of winter here in northern Montana with over 6 inches of new snow here in Valier and about a foot west of town at Jeremy’s. It snowed off and on all day and we had another inch overnight. Like some of you, I am never as ready as I should be for winter and hopefully this is just the proverbial shot over the bow and Mother Nature will give us more time to prepare. Most of the calves are still on the cows and some are still west on summer pasture, but it sounds like the end of the week will be better.

I am still attending the BOL meetings and have offered to help any way I can in the upcoming legislative session to be sure the DOL budget gets through the legislature with enough money to provide the services the livestock industry expects and deserves. We all know that money will be tight this year, but I believe that with the present board and administrators we have in the department, the proposed budget will be accurate and much easier to defend. Getting General Fund money for the diagnostic lab will be crucial to having a budget that fits the needs of the industry. I expect at the next BOL meeting we will see the results of an analysis of the lab budget by Dr. Layton, Executive Officer Honeycutt, and Vice-chair John Scully. They are looking at the fee schedule and doing a cost analysis of various procedures to determine what costs can be attributed to human health. This information will be very valuable when defending the budget request.

Wayne Slaght, Jay Bodner, and I are still working with FWP on the Grizzly Bear issues that are expanding out of traditional Grizzly habitat onto surrounding farm and ranch land and into communities. As much as we all would like to see the Grizzly stay in the mountains, this potential conflict is not going away and in my opinion will only continue to escalate until the Grizzly is delisted. Even then, with the rules that will be in place upon delisting, I am not sure we will see much improvement. My one hope is that somehow we can re-instill a fear of humans that it seems the bears have lost. We are working on a list of mitigation procedures that some of us can use to reduce the potential for conflict. I know that the Rocky Mountain Front is not the only area that is seeing an increase in Grizzly activity and we intend to be involved wherever the potential for conflict exists. Just contact the office and we will share any information and help in any way we can.

I am looking forward to attending as many local meetings as I can this fall, so get your date into the office as soon as you can so we can schedule someone to attend. It is always rewarding for me to hear from members at these local events, to update you on what MSGA is doing for you, and to find out what else you would like us to do.

The Annual Convention is approaching fast and will be here before we know it. The date, as most of you know, is December 7-9 and the change you need to note is that this year we run from Wednesday through Friday instead of our traditional Thursday through Saturday. Hope to see you all there!

 

A big thank you to President Gene Curry for his service and commitment to not only MSGA but also Montana’s ranching industry as a whole. Be on the lookout this week for more information on the nominees for the MSGA Board of Directors.

Miles City Rancher Wins Tractor Lease at Stockgrowers Convention

Fred Wacker Massey FergusonFred Wacker of Miles City and his wife, Gwen, were the lucky winners of a Massey Ferguson tractor lease given away by Montana Massey Ferguson dealers and Montana Stockgrowers Association at the 131st MSGA Annual Convention and Trade Show on Saturday, December 5 at Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings.

The Wacker family was very excited to be this year’s recipients of the 8-month/200-hour lease on a 130-horsepower tractor and loader. This is the second year Montana Massey Ferguson dealers have teamed up for the promotion, raffled off at the MSGA Convention and Trade Show.

“The partnership with Montana Stockgrowers Association and Montana Massey Ferguson dealers continues to grow and provide benefit for ranchers across the state,” according to MSGA President, Gene Curry of Valier. Proceeds from the sale of raffle tickets throughout the year go to benefit a number Stockgrowers programs for Montana ranchers.

Wacker is a third-generation Montana rancher. Cross Four Ranch operates in Custer and Rosebud Counties as a cow/calf, yearling, and a finished cattle operation. The entire Wacker family is involved in the operation and specializes in All Natural Cattle. Fred and his wife, Gwen, have four adult children: Sara Rehm, Julie Nowicki, Karen Martin, and Mike Wacker.

Fred currently serves as Second Vice President for the Montana Stockgrowers Association. Outside of the beef industry, Wacker has served on the Custer County Water & Sewer District Board (including four years as chairman), the Custer County Planning Board, and as president of the Miles City Kiwanis.

2015 was the second year of partnership between MSGA and Montana Massey Ferguson.

Click here for more 2015 Annual Convention coverage from Montana Stockgrowers.

Philipsburg Rancher Wins Truck At Stockgrowers Convention

Ed Lord Montana Ford GiveawayEd Lord of Philipsburg and his wife, Connie, were the lucky winners of a 2015 Ford F-350 Super Duty pickup given away by Montana Ford Stores and Montana Stockgrowers Association at the 131st MSGA Annual Convention and Trade Show on Saturday, December 5 at Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings.

The Lord family is very excited to be this year’s recipients. After the drawing, Ed announced he will be donating the pickup to his daughter and son-in-law who are moving back to Montana to be involved in our ranching community once again. 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, Gene Curry of Valier. “Each Fall we enjoy driving across the state visiting participating dealerships, thanking them for their commitment to agriculture and the Montana Stockgrowers.”

2015 was the seventh year of partnership between MSGA and Montana Ford Stores. MSGA Rancher, Feeder, Stocker and Young Stockgrower members are eligible to win the truck. An entry form must be completed and the member must be present at Annual Convention when the truck will be given away. For more information, visit mtbeef.org.

Click here for more 2015 Annual Convention coverage from Montana Stockgrowers.

Lila Taylor Named “Ranching Woman of the Year”

Lila Watty Taylor Ranching Woman of the YearMontana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) recently recognized Lila Taylor of Kirby, in Big Horn County, as “Ranching Woman of the Year”. The announcement was made Saturday, December 5 during the 131st MSGA Annual Convention and Trade Show at Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings.

Lila, wife of Watty, excited to win the award, was joined on stage by her family. Taylor was nominated for the award by friends and family in the Busby area and from across Montana.

The Taylor family and friends collaborated to share a fitting profile of Lila’s accomplishments through the years:

Lila (Vescovi) Taylor was born into a dairy family outside of Roundup. After the dairy burned down, her family bought into the Registered Polled Hereford business. Her parents, Earl and Wasy, became successful breeders and were eventually inducted into the Polled Hereford Hall of Fame. She was her dad’s right hand man, learning all aspects of the cattle industry and business. She began delivering bulls across Montana and neighboring states when she was just 15 years old.

In her youth, Lila spent countless hours preparing and participating in 4-H and became very successful, especially in the cattle judging and showing arenas. She was the second high individual scorer at the 4-H Congress her senior year. After high school graduation, Lila moved to Bozeman to attend Montana State University where she participated on the MSU Judging Team. Lila graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Ag Business in 1971. To this day, she is a hard-core Bobcat fan and is proud to wear blue and gold!

scan[5] copy 17In 1969, she served as the first official Northern International Livestock Exposition hostess, making her the first “Queen of the Nile.” Later, she would become the chairperson for the youth 4-H/FFA committee at the NILE. This gave her the opportunity to judge 4-H fairs across the state, which she enjoyed. Watty and Lila are proud inaugural members of the NILE.

After a short courtship, she married Watty Taylor in June 1972. They moved to a ranch in Boyd, Montana, which was the start of the “ranch wife” years. In 1973, they moved to Kirby, Montana so that Watty could take over as foreman of his family’s ranch, a cow-calf operation. She became a mother to three sons, (Kirby born 1975, Jay born 1976 and Peter born 1978).

It was during this time that Lila learned the art of cooking for large ranch crews and refining her skills in the “domestic” areas, which was new to her as she grew up a tomboy. Many can attest that today she will not bat an eye at cooking a meal for 30, after she has weighed the calves, provided coffee and checked on the crew’s progress!

Watty & Lila took over the ranch business from his parents in 1994. The boys were away at school and as a couple, they did it all…night calving, riding & gathering, vaccinating, spraying weeds, swathing and the list goes on. Lila has a can-do attitude and expects everyone else to get it done, too!

DSC_0538Lila has put much energy into serving outside of the ranch. After sending her last son away to school, Governor Racicot encouraged her to run for a seat in the Montana House of Representatives. She was told she had 19% chance of winning. However, she was resilient and was elected in the fall of 1994. She served three terms, sitting on committee seats in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Education. In her last term, she served as vice chair of the Legislative Finance Committee.

In 2003, Governor Martz appointed her to the Board of Regents, where she served until 2010. She was selected to serve on the Montana Higher Education Student Assistance Corporation Board (MHESAC) & Student Assistant Foundation (SAF) Boards; she is still serving on these boards today.

In 2011, Governor Schweitzer appointed her to the Montana Board of Public Education. Governor Bullock appointed her to a seat on the Montana Board of Livestock in 2015. Lila serves on the local school board, having helped to create the only small school district cooperative in the state. She also currently serves on the Big Horn Electric Cooperative Board and the St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation Board of Directors.

Lila has Italian “gusto” and will not be dissuaded. Her brother remembers fondly that if she couldn’t get a gate open, she’d pull up to it with a pick-up and “nudge” the gate until she could get it loose enough to open, a trick she uses to this day. She is confident in her beliefs and does not back down easily; while terrified of mice, she has been known to a kill a rattlesnake or two with a rope. She loves her family, friends and her suburban passionately.

Today, Lila and Watty are still operating their cow-calf operation near Kirby. All three sons and their spouses, Kirby and Misty, Jay and Cherie, and Peter and Amanda, are involved in ranching in Montana. She is a very proud grandmother of seven: Will, Ava, Emery, Anna, Reese, Brett and Samuel. Her boys lovingly refer to her as “The Warden”, you know her as Lila Taylor.

The Ranching Woman of the Year award is an annual honor presented during MSGA’s Annual Convention and Trade Show. Contact the MSGA office at (406) 442-3420 to find out how you can nominate someone for next year’s recognition. To learn about previous honorees, visit mtbeef.org/ranching-woman.

Click here for more 2015 Annual Convention coverage from Montana Stockgrowers.

Havre Rancher Completes Term as Stockgrowers Director

Leon LasalleLeon LaSalle of Havre recently completed his second term of Director for the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) representing the North Central District. LaSalle was recognized for his contributions at MSGA’s 131st Annual Convention and Trade Show at Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings on December 5.

“Serving as a Director for MSGA has been a rewarding experience, giving me firsthand knowledge of the challenges we face as an industry,” said Leon LaSalle. “Being on the Board has allowed me to meet and work with passionate ranchers from across the state. I know MSGA is in good hands as our ranchers handle challenges we face as an industry.”

During his term, Leon played an important mentoring role in the beginnings of a successful Collegiate Stockgrowers club at MSU-Northern. The club, currently the largest student organization at MSU-Northern, helps students be more involved in campus activities and network with area ranchers.

Leon is president of LaSalle Ranch, a family corporation that includes his father Robert L., his mother Jenny, and his brother Robert W, Robert’s wife Susie, along with his wife Shannon. LaSalle Ranch is a cow/calf and yearling operation, mostly located within the boundaries of the Rocky Boy Indian reservation.

Leon and his brother Robert W. represent the third generation to ranch in the area. “My grandfather Frank Billy was one of the first Chippewa Cree Tribal members to enter the livestock industry after World War II,” Leon said. “We are proud to carry on the ranching tradition.” The LaSalle Ranch was recognized in 2013 for their efforts in the areas of stewardship, conservation and sustainability through the Montana Environmental Stewardship Award Program.

Leon has been active in his local organizations, serving as past Director of the North Central Montana Stockgrowers Association in Havre. He is also an engineering technician with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Havre.

LaSalle was elected by MSGA members to the 13-member board in 2011 and re-elected in 2013.

The Montana Stockgrowers Association meets annually to discuss and vote on policy measures, which guide the Association in representing its members on local, state and federal issues. MSGA’s 2016 MidYear membership meeting will take place June 9-11 in Great Falls. To learn more about Stockgrowers programs or membership, visit mtbeef.org or contact the office in Helena, (406) 442-3420.

Click here for more 2015 Annual Convention coverage from Montana Stockgrowers.

MSU Extension and MSGA announce 2015 Steer of Merit certifications

montana state extension logoMontana State University Extension and the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) distinguished 108 “Steers of Merit” out of 903 entries for 2015. Out of 589 steers entered in the Carcass Division, 70 were deemed Steers of Merit. In the Ultrasound Division, 38 out of 314 entries received the distinction.

The exhibitors and breeders of the top five steers in each category were honored at MSGA’s Annual Convention, Dec. 5 in Billings at the MetraPark Rimrock Auto Arena. The number of Steer of Merit certifications for 2015 decreased by 10 steers, with 27 fewer entries submitted compared to 2014.

The top five steer entries in the Carcass Division were:

  1. Isabelle Lowry, Lewis and Clark County (Isabelle Lowry, breeder);
  2. Haven Meged, Custer County (Bart Meged, breeder);
  3. Sam Kearney, Ravalli County (Troy Griffin, breeder);
  4. Cheyenne Hawbaker, Daniels County (Steve and Kristi Vorhees, breeder); and
  5. Trenton Braaten, Broadwater County (Butch Gillespie, breeder).

The top five steer entries in the Ultrasound Division were:

  1. Trey Nansel, Yellowstone County (Barry Kruger, breeder);
  2. Parker Cook, Yellowstone County (breeder unknown);
  3. Spencer Lepley, Yellowstone County (breeder unknown);
  4. Kallie Candee, Richland County (Asbeck Brothers, breeder); and
  5. Bill Bender, Yellowstone County (Northwest College, breeder).

Megan Van Emon Steer of MeritThe Montana Steer of Merit program was initiated in 1967 as a joint effort between the Montana Stockgrowers Association and Montana State University Extension. The program was designed to measure, record, and improve carcass characteristics in beef cattle. Data from these carcasses has been summarized and analyzed statistically. Over time, significant increases have been made in quality grade and in yield grade, or cutability, indicating that cattle can be selected for leaner carcasses with higher cutability and still maintain high quality grade as reflected by marbling.

To be designated a Steer of Merit, carcasses are evaluated by a qualified individual using information that relates to yield of lean meat and eating quality. Beef carcasses must meet criteria set by the Steer of Merit Committee in the areas of hot carcass weight, dressing percent, fat thickness over 12th rib (back fat), total rib eye area, yield grade, percent cutability, and quality grade. Computer software programs help compile data and rank carcasses for state and county awards. Data is also analyzed periodically to track genetic and feed management progress. The minimum standards for Steer of Merit are reviewed each year and the program is updated to meet the changing industry standards.

For more information about the Steer of Merit program call Megan Van Emon, Montana State Extension Beef Cattle Specialist at (406) 874-8286.

Click here for more 2015 Annual Convention coverage from Montana Stockgrowers.

Two Dot Rancher completes term as Stockgrowers Director

Jed EvjeneJed Evjene of Two Dot recently completed his second term of Director for the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) representing the South Central District. Evjene was recognized for his contributions at MSGA’s 131st Annual Convention and Trade Show at Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings on December 5.

“I have truly enjoyed my time as a Board member, meeting and visiting ranchers from all across this great state of Montana,” says Evjene. “In the last four years, I have been amazed at the growth in the younger generation’s participation in Stockgrowers. The interest and leadership younger people are showing in the industry gives me the confidence that our industry is going to continue to thrive and move forward.”

Jed and his wife, Annie, manage the American Fork Ranch near Two Dot, a commercial cow-calf operation, which was recognized in 2014 for outstanding work in stewardship, conservation and sustainability through the Montana Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). The Evjenes have focused on improving range utilization through intensive rotational grazing management, extensive projects to improve water availability and improve habitat for wildlife surrounding the ranch. The Evjenes were recognized in June as winners of the Region V ESAP and will compete for the national award, to be announced in January.

The Evjenes have three sons: Tanner and his wife Amanda, Levi, and Andrew and his wife Catie. Jed has been active in his local organizations, serving as past Director of the Crazy Mountain Stockgrowers Association in Big Timber and Wheatland County Stockgrowers in Harlowton.

Outside of the beef industry, Evjene has served on the Hamilton Fire Department Board of Trustees; was safety training officer and past member of Region 5 Advisory Board for FWP; is a past registered EMT; and currently serves as a volunteer for the Melville Fire Department.

Evjene was elected by MSGA members to the 13-member board in 2011 and re-elected in 2013.

The Montana Stockgrowers Association meets annually to discuss and vote on policy measures, which guide the Association in representing its members on local, state and federal issues. MSGA’s 2016 MidYear membership meeting will take place June 9-11 in Great Falls. To learn more about Stockgrowers programs or membership, contact the office in Helena, (406) 442-3420.

Click here for more 2015 Annual Convention coverage from Montana Stockgrowers.