2017 Pest Management Tour offers Last Chance Credit Opportunities for Private Pesticide Applicators across Southcentral Montana.

The Montana State University (MSU) Pesticide Education Program is offering the Pest Management Tour for pesticide applicators across southcentral Montana, Private Applicator Training (PAT) District 5, from October 2nd – 6th (Figure 1). Private applicators within PAT district 5 should ensure they have attained 6 private applicator credits prior to the January 1st, 2018 deadline to avoid losing their private certification. Applicators can assess their credit information at https://mtplants.mt.gov/ by selecting “pesticide programs” and “pesticide license search” prior to entering their license number. Applicators can also contact their MSU Extension county office for license information. Private applicators may opt to attend only a morning or afternoon session for 3 private applicator credits; or both for 6 credits. Commercial applicator credits can be viewed on the last page of the 2017 Pest Management Tour agenda at www.pesticides.montana.edu by selecting “Pest Management Tour”.

Speakers will deliver presentations on managing prairie dogs, managing birds, weed management, pulse diseases, pesticide applicator recordkeeping, pesticide drift, herbicide carryover and diagnosing herbicide injury (presentations vary by location). MSU representatives speaking on the tour include Dr. Fabian Menalled (MSU Cropland Weed Specialist), Dr. Jane Mangold (MSU Rangeland Weed Specialist), Dr. Jessica Rupp (MSU Potato, Sugarbeet and Pulse Pathologist), Stephen Vantassel (MDA Vertebrate Pest Specialist), Eric Clanton (MDA District Officer) and Dr. Cecil Tharp (MSU Pesticide Education Specialist). The tour will cover 10 locations in 5 days:

October 2nd

Lewistown, MT: Eagles Club, 124 W Main Street; Pre-register by September 29th with MSU PEP, Amy Bowser at (406)994-5178 or online atwww.pesticides.montana.edu/event.html;

$10 fee & lunch provided; Starts at 8:30 am. th Hobson, MT: Tall Boys Tavern, 122 Central Avenue; Pre-register by September 26 Basin County Extension, Katie Hatlelid at (406)566-2277 ext.104 or email katherine.hatlelid@montana.edu; $10 fee & lunch provided; Starts at 8:40 am.

October 3rd

Roundup, MT: Roundup Community Center, 700 3rd Street West; Pre-register by September 27th with Musselshell County Extension, Mat Walter (406)323-2704 or email

m.petersonwalter@montana.edu; $15 fee & lunch provided; Starts at 8:55 am. th Ryegate, MT: Ryegate Firehall, 107 Kemp Street; Pre-register by September 27 Musselshell-Golden Valley County Extension, Mat Walter (406)323-2704 or email m.petersonwalter@montana.edu; $15 fee & lunch provided; Starts at 8:40 am.

October 4th

Billings, MT: Red Lion Inn, 1223 Mullowney Lane; Pre-register by September 29th with MSU PEP, Amy Bowser (406)994-5178 or register online at www.pesticides.montana.edu/event.html; $15 fee & lunch provided; Starts at 8:25 am. th Hardin, MT: Big Horn County Fairgrounds, 118 Sawyer Loop; Pre-register by September 28 with Big Horn County Extension Office, Molly Hammond, (406)665-9770 or email molly.hammond@montana.edu; $5 fee & lunch provided; Starts at 8:45 am.

October 5th

Columbus, MT: Stillwater County Fairgrounds Pavilion, 328 North 5th Avenue; Pre-register by September 29th with Stillwater County Extension Office, Lee Schmelzer (406)322-8035 or email

stillwater@montana.edu; No fee & lunch provided; Starts at 8:45 am. th Joliet, MT: Joliet Community Center, 209 E. Front Avenue; Pre-register by September 29 Carbon County Extension Office, Nikki Bailey (406)962-3522 or email at carbon@montana.edu; No fee and lunch provided; Starts at 8:35 am.

October 6th

Big Timber, MT: Sweet Grass County Fairgrounds, 78 Fairgrounds Road; Pre-register by September 29th by contacting Sweet Grass County Extension Office, Marc King (406)580-2556 or email mking@montana.edu; No fee & lunch provided; Starts at 8:35 am.
Harlowton, MT: Kiwanis Youth Center, 202 3rd NE; Pre-register by September 29th by contacting Wheatland County Extension Office, Mandie Reed (406)632-4728 ext. 308 or email reed@montana.edu. $15 fee & lunch provided; Starts at 8:55 am.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: See the detailed program agenda online at www.pesticides.montana.edu and select ‘2017 Pest Management Tour’, or contact your local Extension agent for local information. For any other questions contact Cecil Tharp, Pesticide Education Specialist, at the MSU Pesticide Education Program office (406)-994-5067, ctharp@montana.edu.

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 connected, if you forget about one of these aspects of your ranching business, sooner or later that weak link will cause problems. Next semester I’m enrolled in the online, graduate level holistic management class that Roland helps teach as part of my coursework for my master’s degree. I’m really excited for the class and this seminar as well.”

Maggie Nutter, the President of the Marias River Livestock Association, who attended a presentation by Kroos at the 2015 Montana Bison Association Winter Meeting states, “Roland gave a short 45 minute workshop on how grazing affects the individual plants growth and ability to produce forage from one year to the next.   He explained the grazing concepts so a rancher can understand and act on them and he had a ton of good pictures.  Some of us learn best through visualization.

This will also be a great follow up for people attending the Montana’s Next Generation Conference which will have David Pratt, Ranching for Profit as a speaker. As much as we love the farm and ranching lifestyle, truth is we need to earn a profit to maintain it.  It is important to learn what is out there that can help us keep our ranches running.  “

Roland founded his private consulting firm, Crossroads Ranch Consulting, in 1992 and has been working with individuals and groups alike as a facilitator of Holistic Management® ever since. His enthusiasm and deep thinking will challenge your paradigms; yet help you develop confidence in holistic decision-making. He has hands on experience in ranch/farm management and will share real-life examples of holistic management in action.

Throughout the four days of this workshop, participants will:

  • Learn how to develop a business plan based on the trinity of management.
  • Learn how to match the biological cycles of livestock with the environment they are raised in.
  • Learn how livestock graze plants and how you can reduce (stop) the overgrazing.
  • Learn how to plan for profit in any livestock market.
  • Learn how to integrate livestock and cover crops into your farm program.
  • Learn how to empower a management team that is creative and flexible.
  • Learn how to manage and control Livestock with cost effective fencing and water improvements.
  • Learn how to create wildlife habitat and abundant feed through planned grazing.
  • Learn how to make decisions that are financially, ecologically and socially sound.

The class will be capped at 25 attendees, so please don’t wait to register. The cost of the seminar requires a personal investment of $575 for yourself, and $425 for each additional team member you bring with you. There is a partial scholarship of $350 available for a young or beginning producer to attend the class. This scholarship was sponsored by the Pondera County Conservation District, Stockman Bank and MSU Extension. If you are interested in applying for this scholarship, contact Shaelyn Meyer at (406)-271-4053 or email shaelyn.meyer@montana.edu. You may register for the seminar online at www.crossroadsranchconsulting.com.


Call for MSU Steer A Year Donations

SAY MeatsThe 2015-2016 academic year has begun which means it is time to start “rounding up” steers for the Montana State University Steer-A-Year (SAY) program. In this program, steers donated by Montana ranchers are fed to finish on campus.

Donated steers make a direct impact on MSU students, particularly those on the livestock judging team. The funds allow judging team members to compete and represent Montana State University at a national level.

In addition, SAY contributions are important in enhancing the educational experience for students in the College of Agriculture. The steers are used to allow for “hands-on” learning experiences in courses such as Beef Cattle Management, Livestock Management-Beef Cattle, Meat Science, and Livestock Evaluation. Additionally, the newly created “steer-a-year” class allows students to be involved in all aspects of managing steers.

The Steer-A-Year class is a student run class that focuses on feedlot production and finishing. Steers are donated to the University by Montana producers to be used not only for this class but also for many classes on campus. Those include Livestock Evaluation, Beef Practicum, Beef Management, and Meat Science.

The donation is completely tax deductible and producers will be recognized at Celebrate Ag weekend. In addition, producer who donate receive a monthly update on the performance of all the steers in the program.

Donations made to SAY directly impact our students and these contributions can be made either in the form of a donation of a live steer, cash, proceeds from an auction market sale, and/or gifts of feed grain or forage. Delivery of steers will be taken during the period of October 30 to November 13, 2015. Steers will be housed at the Bozeman Agriculture Research and Teaching Farm. Performance data will be taken and sent out to donors as collected. Awards will also be presented to the Best Initial Feeder Steer, the steer with the Top Rate of Gain and Best Carcass.

If you would like more information about the Steer-A-Year program, or would like to donate a steer, please contact Hannah DelCurto at (406)994-3752 or hannah.delcurto@montana.edu.

PBS Ag Live Answering Montana Ranching Questions

Montana Ranching FAQ | Cattle Industry Trends

PBS Ag Live Answering Montana Ranching QuestionsQ: Are there trends in the cattle industry that Stock growers should know?

A. Gary Brester, MSU Ag Economist, shared some current research findings with us – these are preliminary and he will share the entire report when it is finished – but there were about 80 M cattle in US in 2011 – down from an all-time high of about 130 M in the late 1970s. The good news is that domestic demand is a little stronger today than in previous years, and foreign demand is also increasing – they have more money and their populations are growing (don’t hold your breath, this is slow growth).

But there are supply declines –drought in the past 15 years in various parts of the US has increased the price of hay. Also, ethanol policy has increased the price of feed grains…so folks are planting more grains in what were once hay fields. Studies are showing that there are also reductions in the availability of public and private grazing lands and, with higher productivity our cows are bigger so they require more feed. Livestock is labor intensive and labor costs have increased. The livestock industry has improved its production, but fewer outside inputs are decreasing access to supplies.

Odd thing to watch here – technology has enabled the crop producers to produce more efficiently (GPS, for example, lets them know where to spray more efficiently), but there is no comparable technology boost in the cattle industry. Also, crop subsidy programs make raising crops a bit less risky, and with no comparable program for cattle, producers are opting for crop production.

So, cattle production is down from its heyday for a variety of reasons, but rising feed costs, smaller availability of grazing lands, and higher labor costs are factors. On the up side, demand is rising. Stay tuned for the full report that Dr. Brester will be sharing soon.

Want to submit a question? Send an email to ryan@mtbeef.org or use our contact form.

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